Thursday, March 23, 2017

Question Answered


The Source

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

Who Should The Democrats Should Nominate In 2020 ?


I'm sure many of you will think it's far too early to be picking a candidate for 2020 -- and you are right. But it's not too early to start thinking about who the Democrats have that could win in 2020, because getting Trump out of the White House in the next election is critical for the well-being of this country (or getting Pence out if Trump doesn't last that long).

The Harvard / Harris Poll asked that question of 2,092 registered voters between March 14th and 16th. The results are shown in the chart above. No "candidate" got a lot of support -- with the leaders being Bernie Sanders (who's NOT a Democrat) at 14%, Michelle Obama (who will not run) at 11%, Elizabeth Warren at 9%, and Hillary Clinton at 8%.

The overwhelming choice was that someone new was needed. I agree with that. The Democrats need a new candidate without a lot of baggage -- a candidate that can offer a fresh prospective.

I have a couple of people that I like for the job. They are pictured below -- former ambassador Caroline Kennedy and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. I believe either could energize the party and garner the support of most Americans -- and both are good progressives.



Stolen

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

Public Thinks The GOP Health Plan Is A Step Backward


Today, the House of Representatives will vote on the Republican plan to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). They need to understand that a majority of Americans (51%) think the GOP plan is a step backward. It will make the health care situation of millions of Americans much worse -- by insuring 24 million less people, by increasing insurance premiums, and by doing nothing to control the rising cost of drugs and medical care.

The chart above reflects the results in a recent Harvard / Harris Poll done between March 14th and 16th of a random national sample of 2,092 registered voters.

Happy Country ?

Political Cartoon is by Milt Priggee at miltpriggee.com.

Public Doesn't Believe Obama Wiretapped Trump


Donald Trump refuses to back off his accusation (i.e., LIE) that President Obama wiretapped him during/after the 2016 campaign. He sticks to that lie even though FBI Director Comey, the Justice Department, and our intelligence agencies say there is no proof that it happened.

But he needs to drop that accusation, and admit he was wrong. That's because the American people, by a huge margin, don't believe it happened. Two-thirds of the public (66%) think he was NOT wiretapped by Obama, while only one-third (34%) think it did happen. By continuing to lie about this, Trump is just further destroying his credibility with the American people.

These results are from the recent Harvard / Harris Poll done between March 14th and 16th of a random national sample of 2,092 registered voters. (No margin of error was given)

Lies And Leaks

Political Cartoon is by Nate Beeler in The Columbus Dispatch.

Trump Is Bad For This Country - Ryan Is Worse

 (These caricatures of Donald Trump and Paul Ryan are by the inimitable DonkeyHotey.)

The following post is by Allen Clifton at his website, Forward Progressives.

Mr. Clifton writes:

While Donald Trump has dominated the news since the day he launched his campaign on June 18, 2015, I think it’s important to remember that he’s far from the only unethical, shady crook within the Republican Party. If anything, I’ll at least give him some (though very little) credit for being fairly transparent about the fact that he’s a vile, pathological liar. Of course he’ll deny that, and so will his supporters, but most rational people are well aware of the type of bottom-feeder Trump is based on his words and actions.

But I’ll argue that it’s those who are too cowardly to be exactly who they really are who I think might even be worse than Trump.
For example, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI).
Say what you want about Trump, but at least he’s an arrogant bastard who owns the fact that he’s exploited our system for his own benefit. He won’t word it that way, but when you’re a billionaire who avoided paying taxes for nearly 20 years, that’s what you are.
Paul Ryan doesn’t do that. This is someone who lacked the courage to stand up to Trump during the primary. He found himself publicly condemning something his party’s candidate had said or done over and over again, only to still endorse him for president. Then we can’t forget about his speech at the RNC’s convention where he barely even mentioned Trump by name, then uninvited him to a campaign event in Wisconsin after he said he was “sickened” by Trump following the release of the infamous “grab them by the pu–y” video that was made public in October.
Yet, despite all of that, Ryan has mostly backed Trump at every disgusting and shameful turn.
Even when he was asked about Trump’s ridiculous claim that “millions” of people voted illegally in this election, Ryan took the cowardly approach by basically trying to blow off that our president-elect just used an asinine, unfounded conspiracy to claim that the entire 2016 election was tainted.
As I’ve said before, Ryan is a spineless hypocrite.
He’s someone whose sole purpose in life seems to be showing a disdain for the poor, supporting policies that help big business and worshipping the twisted economic principles of Ayn Rand to strip away any sort of social safety net many Americans use to survive.
Paul Ryan is someone who’s been itching — for years — to take the first true steps toward ending Medicare and Social Security. And while it’s true many Republicans would love to get rid of Medicare and Social Security, Ryan’s stance on social safety nets is especially hypocritical based upon his history and his career choice.
After Ryan’s father tragically died when he was a 16-year-old public high school student, Ryan received Social Security benefits until his 18th birthday — benefits he saved up to help him pay for his college education at the publicly funded Miami University.
Since then he’s spent nearly the entirety of his adult life (aside from a few summers working as a salesman for Oscar Mayer) as a government employee whose pay and benefits are provided for him by the taxpayers. A man who’s built his political career on the greatness of the private sector — has spent nearly most of his life heavily benefitting from government benefits and pay.
You can’t make this stuff up.
This is also someone who publicly condemned President Obama’s 2009 stimulus package, who then sought funds from it to help out his district.
Though it’s important to keep in mind that, while he likes to present himself as some sort of “fiscal conservative,” Ryan’s voting record includes:
  • Voted for both the Iran and Afghanistan wars.
  • Supported George W. Bush’s stimulus bill.
  • Backed Bush’s tax cuts while supporting two wars.
  • Voted for the $700 billion TARP/Wall Street bailout.
  • Supported the auto bailout.
  • Supported trillions in defense spending.
Which means this “fiscal conservative” who’s built a career vilifying the government has not only enjoyed a life largely funded by the taxpayers, but his career is filled with votes for legislation that have added trillions of dollars to our national debt.
And I can’t forget what a “devout Christian” Ryan claims to be, while supporting economic principles that are the antithesis of real Christian values.
Paul Ryan defines hypocrisy.
As much as I loathe Donald Trump, Ryan might actually be worse. At least Trump makes it fairly obvious that he’s an unapologetic, insecure, narcissistic bigot who panders to the worst part of our society. Meanwhile, Paul Ryan likes to act as if he’s morally superior, even though he’s the same type of two-faced, hypocritical con man pandering to the same deplorable beliefs as Trump.

Voter Misogyny

Political Cartoon is by Mike Stanfill at ragingpencils.com.

An Act Of Malice


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

This Is Just Wrong


Trump Voters

Political Cartoon is by Trevor Irvin at cagle.com.

Will Trumpcare Pass In The House On Thursday ?



Speaker Ryan is forging ahead to have a vote in the House of Representatives on Thursday to pass the Republican Health Care plan (Trumpcare). I think he and Trump see it as now or never -- because the longer it takes to try to pass it, the more people realize just how bad the plan really is. And as the charts above show, the people are already turning against the GOP bill.

Americans oppose Trump care by a 21 point margin (24% to 45%). And they think Obamacare is a better (even though flawed) plan than Trumpcare by an 11 point margin (25% for Trumpcare and 36% for Obamacare).

Will it pass? That's anyone's guess at this point. The "freedom caucus" (teabagger Republicans) had enough votes to kill it a few days ago. But Trump met with them, and Ryan has allowed some right-wing amendments to the bill. Trump and Ryan say they now have enough votes to pass it. The freedom caucus leader says he has enough votes (combined with Democrats who'll vote against it) to kill it.

Who is right? I had originally thought the bill would pass fairly easily, then thought it would fail because of teabagger opposition. Today, I see it as 50-50 on pass or fail. Either way, it will be interesting to watch the vote on Thursday -- a vote that could determine whether 24 to 26 million Americans get to keep their health insurance.

The charts above were made from info in a new YouGov Poll -- done on March 16th and 17th of a random national sample of 1,000 adults, with a 4 point margin of error.

Blind To Reality

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

A Population Trend That Bodes Well For Democrats



The charts above are from the Pew Research Center -- using a compilation of surveys they have done in each year since 2000.

They show a trend toward liberalism (progressivism) and toward the Democratic Party since that year. Those who identify as liberal has shown an increase of 9 points (to 21%), while those identifying as conservative has increased by only 3 points (to 25%). The trend toward those identifying as Democrats has also shown better growth (7 points) than those identifying as Republicans (2 points).

The second chart shows how this is happening. The younger Americans are trending more toward liberalism and the Democratic Party, while older Americans favor the Republican Party. Those identifying as liberals has grown by 9 points among Millennials (to 27%), and by 7 points among Generation X (to 21%). And those identifying as Democrats has grown by 7 points among Millennials (to 54%), and by 6 points among Generation X (to 48%).

Conservatism has grown among Baby Boomers by 8 points (to 31%), and among the Silent Generation by 11 points (to 36%). Those identifying as Republican has grown by 5 points among Baby Boomers (to 44%), and by 10 points among the Silent Generation (to 48%).

The problem for Republicans is that as the Silent Generation (and them Baby Boomers) die off, they will be replaced by the much more liberal and Democratic Generation X and Millennials.

When you add this trend to another population trend -- the percentage growth of non-whites (who tend to be much more liberal and Democratic) over whites among the voting population -- then you have a future that looks very bright for Democrats.

Trump Gives The Finger To Americans

Political Cartoon is by Steve Greenberg at steve@greenberg-art.com.

Domestic Violence Is A Far Bigger Problem Than Terrorism

(This chart is from upworthy.com.)

The Republicans would have you believe that the biggest danger to American citizens is terrorism -- and they have started wars, issued travel bans, and want to build a wall to solve that problem. But the truth is that there's a problem much bigger and much more dangerous to American citizens -- DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.

As the chart above shows, more women have been killed in this country between 2001 and 2012 than soldiers killed in Afghanistan & Iraq and Americans killed by terrorists -- combined! And yet, this is a problem on which most of our politicians, especially Republicans, are silent. They want to spend many billions more to fight terrorism, but seem to be complacent about the much more serious problem of domestic violence.

To their credit, many police departments are now taking domestic violence more seriously -- and no longer require a victim's consent to file charges against the abuser. But much more needs to be done. Sadly though, it won't be done until the population as a whole in this country recognizes the problem and demands it be corrected.

We need stricter laws and more judicial enforcement of those laws. And personally, I think we should make it much harder for those convicted of domestic violence to buy or own a firearm -- and we should seriously punish those who violate than ban.

Dead (Twitter) Birds

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

Global Warming Is Making Wildfires Much Worse This Year

(This Texas wildfire was photographed by the Hoover Volunteer Fire Department.)

From Natasha Geiling at Think Progress:

Wildfire season, or the period between spring and late fall when dry weather, heat, and ignition sources make wildfires more likely, is already off to a devastating start, with fires already burning through a combined 2 million acres across the country — ten times the average for mid-March. According to data from the National Interagency Fire Center, more acreagehas already burned in 2017 than burned during the entire fire season in 1989, 1993, and 1998.
Record-high temperatures combined with low humidity and high wind have created the ideal environment for wildfires throughout much of the Great Plains and into the West, destroying homes and property and resulting in several deaths.
Late last week, a blaze near Boulder, Colorado, forced hundreds to evacuate from their homes. The fire, which burned 74 acres, was fully contained as of Monday. But the containment comes at a cost — according to the Denver Post, it cost firefighters $500,000 to fight the fire. Officials speculated that the fire was caused by human activity.
Earlier this month, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) declared a state of emergency in 22 Oklahoma counties, after wildfires burned through 400,000 acres in the state. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, nearly three-quarters of the state is currently in drought conditions.
In Texas, an early-March blaze killed three ranchers as they tried to save cattle from a grass fire that eventually engulfed 100,000 acres. Another fire burned 300,000 acres of the Texas panhandle, the third largest in Texas A&M Forest Service history, while another fire burned 25,000 acres and threatened hundreds of homes near Amarillo.
In Kansas, early-March fires consumed more than 400,000 acres, destroying at least 30 homes. The fires forced between 10,000 and 12,000 evacuations, according to a spokeswoman with the Kansas Division of Emergency Management. They were the largest fires in state history.
recent New York Times article chronicled the devastation wrought on ranchers by the recent Plains fires, some of whom lost hundreds of cattle. One Kansas rancher, who voted for Donald Trump for president, bemoaned Trump’s lack of engagement with the suffering ranchers, telling the Times, “I think he’d be doing himself a favor to come out and visit us.”
Emergency programs meant to help farmers and ranchers recover from catastrophic events — like the fires — are facing a 21 percent cut under Trump’s recently proposed “skinny budget.” Some ranchers told the Times they could be facing losses as high as $10 million.
The influence of climate change on wildfires is well-documented. Rising temperatures, combined with prolonged drought throughout the West, has prompted wildfires to spread across 16,000 more square miles than the otherwise would have — an area larger than Massachusetts and Connecticut combined. And over the last three decades, wildfire season has also gotten longer — as global temperatures have increased, wildfire season lasts on average 78 days longer.
Longer and more widespread fires mean more danger to humans, who are increasingly building homes and communities closer to forests, grasslands, and other fire-prone areas. But the increase in burn acreage and fire season also comes with economic costs to taxpayers.
The 2015 fire season, which burned through more than 9.8 million acres, cost the U.S. Forest Service $1.71 billion for the year — well above the $1.3 billion average usually spent on fire suppression. The cost of fighting fires has been steadily rising in recent years, meaning more of the Forest Service’s budget has been siphoned into fighting fires, rather than non-fire services like watershed management or road maintenance. Even services that can help prevent fires, like forest management, have seen their budget decline at the expense of fire suppression.
And those costs are only expected to increase as climate change continues to fuel record-breaking temperatures, feed extended droughts, and encourage pests like the pine beetle to ravage forests. According to a Forest Service report from August 2015, “the U.S. burns twice as many acres as three decades ago, and Forest Service scientists believe the acreage burned may double again by mid-century.” By 2025, the report concluded, fire-fighting costs could regularly exceed $1.8 billion annually.
While all signs point to an increased demand for fire suppression and preparedness, Trump’s proposed budget funds both wildfire at $2.4 billion annually — the average demand over the past 10 years.
Trump’s proposed budget also cuts any domestic climate research, as well as programs housed within the Department of Energy aimed at expanding renewable energy throughout the country. When asked about these cuts, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said that climate funding was “a waste of [taxpayer] money.”
Yet without taking actions to significantly curb carbon emissions and fight climate change, fire season is only set to grow longer, more destructive, and more expensive in the coming years.

Not Amused

Political Cartoon is by Dave Granlund at davegranlund.com.

Number 45


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Not Any Better


Today's Letters

Political Cartoon is by Sean Delonas at seandelonas.com.

After 60 Days Trump Is Still The Prez With Lowest Approval


The chart above (from Gallup Poll daily tracking) shows the job approval numbers for Donald Trump after 60 days in office. His numbers are growing worse -- not better. Currently only 37% of the public approves of the job he is doing, while 58% disapprove.

Trump remains the least approved president after 60 days of the last seven presidents. He's not only the only one of that seven to have a job approval below 50% -- but is also the only one to have a net negative job disapproval.

I am still convinced that this is an administration that's in trouble. And things didn't get any better for Trump yesterday. Appearing before Congress, FBI Director Comey said he had no evidence that Trump Tower was wiretapped (as Trump continues to claim), and worse, that the FBI is conducting an official investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

How low can Trump's job approval numbers go?



What The Cap Should Have Said

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

Who Are The Holders Of The United States National Debt ?


There's been a lot of talk, especially among right-wingers, about the national debt -- which currently stands at about $19.9 trillion. Some of them would have you believe that China is our biggest debt-holder -- and we have, in essence, sold our country to the Chinese. That is not even remotely true.

In fact, China is not the biggest foreign holder of our national debt. They have $1.058 trillion, but finish second to Japan which holds $1.090 trillion. And neither of those countries is interested in tuning our economy. They want a strong dollar, because that makes the goods they sell in this country cheaper (and they can sell more of them).

Who is the biggest holder of the debt? It is the Social Security Trust Fund -- $2.801 trillion. Other government retirement funds hold a little over $1.8 trillion. This should give you a big clue as to why the Republicans are so interested in cutting Social Security benefits (and other retirement funds). If they cut them, then they can continue using them as their own personal piggy bank (instead of paying them back to be used by retirees). And that will let them give more tax breaks to the rich and the corporations.

Trump is claiming that his proposed massive tax cuts for the rich and corporations will spur the economy and result in more taxes being paid, and a lower national debt. That is ludicrous. That's the same faulty reasoning used by Reagan and Bush II when they cut taxes for the rich and corporations -- and all it did was balloon both the deficit and the national debt under both those administrations.

If you are really worried about the national debt, the way to lower it is to raise taxes. Make the rich and the corporations pay their fair share -- and remove corporate subsidies and tax loopholes so they actually have to pay taxes. Raising revenues by cutting taxes is just a conservative lie -- invented to justify giving more to the rich while putting a bigger burden of everyone else.

As Mean As It Gets

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

U.S. Trails 13 Other Nations In Having "Happy" Citizens








From the Gallup Poll.

Scary

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

Reich's Assessment Of Our Chaotic Federal Government

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich (pictured) recently talked with his friends in Washington (on both sides of the aisle). Then he tweeted his assessment. He said:

1. Washington is more divided, angry, bewildered, and fearful — than I’ve ever seen it.
2. The angry divisions aren’t just Democrats versus Republicans. Rancor is also exploding inside the Republican Party.
3. Republicans (and their patrons in big business) no longer believe Trump will give them cover to do what they want to do. They’re becoming afraid Trump is genuinely nuts, and he’ll pull the party down with him.
4. Many Republicans are also angry at Paul Ryan, whose replacement bill for Obamacare is considered by almost everyone on Capitol Hill to be incredibly dumb.
5. I didn’t talk with anyone inside the White House, but several who have had dealings with it called it a cesspool of intrigue and fear. Apparently everyone working there hates and distrusts everyone else. 
6. The Washington foreign policy establishment — both Republican and Democrat — is deeply worried about what’s happening to American foreign policy, and the worldwide perception of America being loony and rudderless. They think Trump is legitimizing far-right movements around the world. 
7. Long-time civil servants are getting ready to bail. If they’re close to retirement they’re already halfway out the door. Many in their 30s and 40s are in panic mode. 
8. Republican pundits think Bannon is even more unhinged than Trump, seeking to destroy democracy as we’ve known it.
9. Despite all this, no one I talked with thought a Trump impeachment likely, at least not any time soon — unless there’s a smoking gun showing Trump’s involvement in Russia’s intrusion into the election.
10. Many people asked, bewilderedly, “How did this [Trump] happen?” When I suggest it had a lot to do with the 35-year-long decline of incomes of the bottom 60 percent; the growing sense, ever since the Wall Street bailout, that the game is rigged; and the utter failure of both Republicans and Democrats to reverse these trends — they give me blank stares.

Fiction

Political Cartoon is by Darrin Bell at darrinbell.com.

GOP Is Now An extremist Organization


Monday, March 20, 2017

Another True Legend Has Passed


Collapsing ?

Political Cartoon is by Jim Morin in The Miami Herald.

Government Asks For Bids For Wall That Most Don't Want


Several recent polls have shown that the American people don't want a wall built between the United States and Mexico, especially since taxpayers will have to pay for that wall (estimated to cost upwards of $20 billion). The most recent polls are from Public Policy Polling and YouGov Polling.

The Public Policy Polling survey was done between March 10th and 12th of a random national sample of 808 registered voters, and has a margin of error of 3.4 points.

The Economist / YouGov Poll was done on March 13th and 14th of a random national sample of 1,500 adults (including 1,320 registered voters), and has a margin of error of 3.3 points.

But the Trump administration doesn't care what the public wants. Trump promised his right-wing supporters a wall, and he's determined to build it regardless of what the American public thinks. At the behest of the Trump administration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has asked for bids to design and build the wall -- in spite of the fact that, so far, no money has been passed in Congress to pay for the wall.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

“The documents say the government will consider proposals for two separate designs for the barrier: a solid concrete wall, and a wall made of alternative material. Both requests call for the wall along the southwestern border—from San Diego to Brownsville, Texas—to be a minimum of 18 feet high. The requests add that the government’s ‘nominal concept is for a 30-foot high wall.'”
“The requests say the structure should include anti-climbing fixtures to make it impossible to scale, and be sturdy enough to at least temporarily withstand a variety of tools—such as chisels, battery-powered devices and torches—that could be used to breach it.”

Trumpista View

Political Cartoon is by Nick Anderson in the Houston Chronicle.