Tuesday, September 18, 2018

All Forms Of Discrimination

About 40% of Americans Struggle To Meet Basic Needs

Donald Trump (and his Republican cohorts) keep telling us how great the economy is doing. And the mainstream media seems to be accepting that at face value. They are even amazed that the voting populace is favoring Democrats while the economy is doing so "great". In a good economy, the voters normally reward the party in power for that.

Why is the media so willing to believe the economy is doing well. Because they are looking only at three features of the economy -- GDP, the Stock Market, and unemployment. They don't seem to realize that all three of those indicators are faulty. The healthy GDP and the rising Stock Market only tell us how corporations and the rich are doing -- and both are doing exceptionally well. The low unemployment has not caused worker wages to rise and too many of the new jobs being created are low-wage and low-benefit jobs that keep those workers in poverty.

The middle class and the working classes are still struggling to recover from the Bush Recession (even a decade later). Their wages have not kept up with inflation, and they have lost buying power. And the working poor continue to lose ground.

According to a new report by the Urban Institute, a significant portion of Americans are struggling to meet their basic needs (food, housing, utilities, medical care, etc.). About 39.4% of Americans have found it impossible to meet at least one of those needs during the year -- and 23.7% have struggled to meet two or more of those needs.

This is not a good economy (unless you are rich). Anytime nearly four out of ten families struggle to meet at least one basic need, you don't have a good economy. You have an unfair and inequality economy.

But the economy is working just like the Republicans want it to work. Their economic policy (trickle-down economics) is based on giving the rich an unfair advantage. They would have you believe that when the rich do well, then everyone does well. That has never worked, and is not working now. All the Republican Party's policies do is reward the rich and punish everyone else -- creating the largest gap in wealth and income between the rich and the rest of America in our history.

And they have made it clear they have no intention of changing that failed policy. That's why they must be voted out of power. It's the only way to restore an economic policy that is fair to all Americans.


Political Cartoon is by Stuart Carlson at carlsontoons.com.

Dems Are Leading In Arizona & Tennessee Senate Races

A few months ago, it was unthinkable that the senate seats in Arizona and Tennessee would be competitive. Most pundits figured these were pretty safe seats for the Republicans. Things have certainly changed though.

New polls show the Democratic candidates in both states currently enjoy a small lead -- Sinema (D) over McSally (R) by 7 points in Arizona, and Bredesen (D) over Blackburn (R) by 8 points in Tennessee.

It's still a month and a half until election day, and anything can happen, but Democrats have a reasonable chance to flip these seats (both of which are currently held by retiring Republicans).

The CNN / SSRS Poll in Arizona was done between September 11th and 15th of a sample of 854 registered voters and 761 likely voters The margin of error for registered voters is 4.1 points, and for likely voters is 4.3 points.

The CNN / SSRS Poll in Tennessee was done between September 11th and 15th of a sample of 852 registered voters and 723 likely voters. The margin of error for registered voters is 3.9 points, and for likely voters is 4.3 points.

Telling The Difference

Political Cartoon is by Mark Wilson at empirewire.com.

Majority Says A Candidate's Opinion Of Trump Important

The debate continues on whether the November election is a referendum on Donald Trump, or not. I am convinced that it is. And a recent poll backs me up. It shows 59% of registered voters say a congressional candidates position on Trump is extremely/very important to them, and another 12% say it is somewhat important. Only 28% say it is not important.

And that is true of both genders, all age groups, both Whites and Nonwhites, those with and without a college degree, and the type of community the voter lives in. All demographic groups have 50% or more saying a candidate's view of Trump is either extremely or very important to them.

This is good news for Democrats and bad news for many Republican candidates. That's because the overwhelming partisanship in the primaries have produced candidates that either support or oppose Trump. No Democrat could survive a primary without coming out against Trump, and no Republican could survive their primary without supporting Trump. That's means a vote for a Democratic candidate is a vote against Trump, and a vote for a Republican candidate is a vote for Trump.

That may not matter in some safe districts, but around 66 Republican seats are now viewed as competitive -- and the public's dislike of Trump will be an important factor in those districts.

The chart above reflects the results of a fairly recent ABC News / Washington Post Poll -- done between August 26th and 29th of a national sample of 1,003 adults, with a margin of error of 3.5 points.

Liar & Sniveler Dance Together

Political Cartoon is by Ed Wexler at cagle.com.

Hillary's Back (And Still Telling The Truth About Trump)

Like other decent Americans who love their country, Hillary Clinton is speaking out against the incompetence, corruption, and divisiveness of the Trump administration. She has written an excellent article for The Atlantic (and I urge you to read the whole article). Here is just a part of it:

It’s been nearly two years since Donald Trump won enough Electoral College votes to become president of the United States. On the day after, in my concession speech, I said, “We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.” I hoped that my fears for our future were overblown.

They were not.

In the roughly 21 months since he took the oath of office, Trump has sunk far below the already-low bar he set for himself in his ugly campaign. Exhibit A is the unspeakable cruelty that his administration has inflicted on undocumented families arriving at the border, including separating children, some as young as eight months, from their parents. According to The New York Times, the administration continues to detain 12,800 children right now, despite all the outcry and court orders. Then there’s the president’s monstrous neglect of Puerto Rico: After Hurricane Maria ravaged the island, his administration barely responded. Some 3,000 Americans died. Now Trump flatly denies those deaths were caused by the storm. And, of course, despite the recent indictments of several Russian military intelligence officers for hacking the Democratic National Committee in 2016, he continues to dismiss a serious attack on our country by a foreign power as a “hoax.”

Trump and his cronies do so many despicable things that it can be hard to keep track. I think that may be the point—to confound us, so it’s harder to keep our eye on the ball. The ball, of course, is protecting American democracy. As citizens, that’s our most important charge. And right now, our democracy is in crisis.

I don’t use the word crisis lightly. There are no tanks in the streets. The administration’s malevolence may be constrained on some fronts—for now—by its incompetence. But our democratic institutions and traditions are under siege. We need to do everything we can to fight back. There’s not a moment to lose.

As I see it, there are five main fronts of this assault on our democracy.

First, there is Donald Trump’s assault on the rule of law.

John Adams wrote that the definition of a republic is “a government of laws, and not of men.” That ideal is enshrined in two powerful principles: No one, not even the most powerful leader, is above the law, and all citizens are due equal protection under the law. Those are big ideas, radical when America was formed and still vital today. The Founders knew that a leader who refuses to be subject to the law or who politicizes or obstructs its enforcement is a tyrant, plain and simple.

That sounds a lot like Donald Trump. He told The New York Times, “I have an absolute right to do what I want to with the Justice Department.” Back in January, according to that paper, Trump’s lawyers sent Special Counsel Robert Mueller a letter making that same argument: If Trump interferes with an investigation, it’s not obstruction of justice, because he’s the president. . . .

Second, the legitimacy of our elections is in doubt.

There’s Russia’s ongoing interference and Trump’s complete unwillingness to stop it or protect us. There’s voter suppression, as Republicans put onerous—and I believe illegal—requirements in place to stop people from voting. There’s gerrymandering, with partisans—these days, principally Republicans—drawing the lines for voting districts to ensure that their party nearly always wins. All of this carries us further away from the sacred principle of “one person, one vote.”

Third, the president is waging war on truth and reason.

Earlier this month, Trump made 125 false or misleading statements in 120 minutes, according to The Washington Post—a personal record for him (at least since becoming president). To date, according to the paper’s fact-checkers, Trump has made 5,000 false or misleading claims while in office and recently has averaged 32 a day. . . .

When we can’t trust what we hear from our leaders, experts, and news sources, we lose our ability to hold people to account, solve problems, comprehend threats, judge progress, and communicate effectively with one another—all of which are crucial to a functioning democracy.

Fourth, there’s Trump’s breathtaking corruption.

Considering that this administration promised to “drain the swamp,” it’s amazing how blithely the president and his Cabinet have piled up conflicts of interest, abuses of power, and blatant violations of ethics rules. Trump is the first president in 40 years to refuse to release his tax returns. He has refused to put his assets in a blind trust or divest himself of his properties and businesses, as previous presidents did. This has created unprecedented conflicts of interest, as industry lobbyists, foreign governments, and Republican organizations do business with Trump’s companies or hold lucrative events at his hotels, golf courses, and other properties. They are putting money directly into his pocket. He’s profiting off the business of the presidency. . . .

Fifth, Trump undermines the national unity that makes democracy possible.

Democracies are rowdy by nature. We debate freely and disagree forcefully. It’s part of what distinguishes us from authoritarian societies, where dissent is forbidden. But we’re held together by deep “bonds of affection,” as Abraham Lincoln said, and by the shared belief that out of our fractious melting pot comes a unified whole that’s stronger than the sum of our parts.

At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work. Trump doesn’t even try to pretend he’s a president for all Americans. It’s hard to ignore the racial subtext of virtually everything Trump says. Often, it’s not even subtext. When he says that Haitian and African immigrants are from “shithole countries,” that’s impossible to misunderstand. Same when he says that an American judge can’t be trusted because of his Mexican heritage. None of this is a mark of authenticity or a refreshing break from political correctness. Hate speech isn’t “telling it like it is.” It’s just hate. . . .

There is a tendency, when talking about these things, to wring our hands about “both sides.” But the truth is that this is not a symmetrical problem. We should be clear about this: The increasing radicalism and irresponsibility of the Republican Party, including decades of demeaning government, demonizing Democrats, and debasing norms, is what gave us Donald Trump. Whether it was abusing the filibuster and stealing a Supreme Court seat, gerrymandering congressional districts to disenfranchise African Americans, or muzzling government climate scientists, Republicans were undermining American democracy long before Trump made it to the Oval Office.

Now we must do all we can to save our democracy and heal our body politic. . . .

In 1787, after the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin was asked by a woman on the street outside Independence Hall, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” Franklin answered, “A republic, if you can keep it.” That response has been on my mind a lot lately. The contingency of it. How fragile our experiment in self-government is. And, when viewed against the sweep of human history, how fleeting. Democracy may be our birthright as Americans, but it’s not something we can ever take for granted. Every generation has to fight for it, has to push us closer to that more perfect union. That time has come again.

Shocked? Really?

Political Cartoon is by John Branch in the Houston Chronicle.

Ode To Hannity

Monday, September 17, 2018

The Most Stupid Decision

A Public Majority Says Trump Doesn't Care About Them

Donald Trump's job approval numbers have been upside-down since he was sworn into office, and he has been unable to improve them significantly. Part of this is because people just don't like him. A bigger part is that they don't trust him -- believing him to be dishonest and untrustworthy (as many polls have shown).

But perhaps the biggest reason is that most people just don't think Trump cares about them. They believe he cares only about himself (and some of his rich friends and family). Trump has tried to say he's making things better for everyone, but his actions and policies tell a different story.

The Economist / YouGov Poll was done between September 9th and 11th of a national sample of 1,500 adults, with a margin of error of 2.9 points.

The Quinnipiac University Poll was done between September 6th and 9th of a national sample of 1,038 voters, and has a margin of error of 3.7 points.


Political Cartoon is by Adam Zyglis in The Buffalo News.

Trump's Deteriorating Mental State Poses A Danger For U.S.

(Cartoon image is by Chris Britt in the Illinois Times.)

Several months ago, Yale University Psychiatrist Dr. Bandy X. Lee edited a book by mental health professionals that made the case that Donald Trump was suffering from mental illness. In light of recent developments, Dr. Lee has written an article for Business Insider. Here is part of what he wrote:

Bob Woodward's new book, "Fear," describes a "nervous breakdown of Trump's presidency." Earlier this year, Michael Wolff's "Fire and Fury" offered a similar portrayal.
Now, an op-ed in The New York Times by an anonymous "senior White House official" describes how deeply the troubles in this administration run and what effort is required to protect the nation.
None of this is a surprise to those of us who, 18 months ago, put together our own public service book, "The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President."
My focus as the volume's editor was on Trump's dangerousness because of my area of expertise in violence prevention. Approaching violence as a public health issue, I have consulted with governments and international organizations, in addition to 20 years of engaging in the individual assessment and treatment of violent offenders. . . .
My current concern is that we are already witnessing a further unraveling of the president's mental state, especially as the frequency of his lying increases and the fervor of his rallies intensifies.
I am concerned that his mental challenges could cause him to take unpredictable and potentially extreme and dangerous measures to distract from his legal problems.
Mental health professionals have standard procedures for evaluating dangerousness. More than a personal interview, violence potential is best assessed through past history and a structured checklist of a person's characteristics.
These characteristics include a history of cruelty to animals or other people, risk taking, behavior suggesting loss of control or impulsivity, narcissistic personality and current mental instability. Also of concern are noncompliance or unwillingness to undergo tests or treatment, access to weapons, poor relationship with significant other or spouse, seeing oneself as a victim, lack of compassion or empathy, and lack of concern over consequences of harmful acts.
The Woodward book and the New York Times op-ed confirm many of these characteristics. The rest have been evident in Trump's behavior outside the White House and prior to his tenure.
That the president has met not just some but all these criteria should be reason for alarm.
Other ways in which a president could be dangerous are through cognitive symptoms or lapses, since functions such as reasoning, memory, attention, language and learning are critical to the duties of a president. He has exhibited signs of decline here, too.
Furthermore, when someone displays a propensity for large-scale violence, such as by advocating violence against protesters or immigrant families, calling perpetrators of violence such as white supremacists "very fine people" or showing oneself vulnerable to manipulation by hostile foreign powers, then these things can promote a much more widespread culture of violence.
The president has already shown an alarming escalation of irrational behavior during times of distress. Others have observed him to be "unstable," "losing a step," and "unraveling." He is likely to enter such a state again.
Violent acts are not random events. They are end products of a long process that follow recognizable patterns. As mental health experts, we make predictions in terms of unacceptable levels of probability rather than on the basis of what is certain to happen.
Trump's impairment is a familiar pattern to a violence expert such as myself, but given his level of severity, one does not need to be a specialist to know that he is dangerous.
I believe Woodward's book and the revelations in the New York Times op-ed have placed great pressure on the president. We are now entering a period when the stresses of the presidency could accelerate because of the advancing special counsel's investigations.
The degree of Trump's denial and resistance to the unfolding revelations, as expressed in a recent Fox interview, are telling of his fragility.
From my observations of the president over extended time via his public presentations, direct thoughts through tweets and accounts of his close associates, I believe that the question is not whether he will look for distractions, but how soon and to what degree.
At least several thousands of mental health professionals who are members of the National Coalition of Concerned Mental Health Experts share the view that the nuclear launch codes should not be in the hands of someone who exhibits such levels of mental instability.
Just as suspicion of crime should lead to an investigation, the severity of impairment that we see should lead to an evaluation, preferably with the president's consent.

10 Years Later - More Of The Same

Political Cartoon is by Patrick Chappatte in The New York Times.

We've Failed To Fix The Problem

Sunday, September 16, 2018

No Liberty In Worshipping A Tyrant

Is The Economy Doing As Well As Trump Claims ?

Donald Trump loves to brag about how well the U.S. economy is doing (and take full credit for it). And if you look at the two main indicators that most view as showing a good economy -- the Stock Market and the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) -- then that would be true.

The problem is though that those indicators only tell us how well the rich are doing. Note on the charts that stock values and GDP are both up in record territory, which means that corporations (and the rich who own and invest in them) are doing very well in the current economy.

Unfortunately, the rest of America is not doing as well. While stock values are way up, the net worth of most Americans is not. It lags far behind what it was before the Bush Recession. And while GDP is way up, the income for the bottom 90% of Americans is not. It barely equals the pre-Bush Recession levels (and is even worse when inflation is figured in).

Obviously, we need to develop better indicators for how well the economy is doing. The current indicators only tell us how well the rich are doing. We need indicators developed that will tell us how well ALL Americans are doing. Of course, that won't happen as long as the Republican control our government, because the rich are the only people they care about. All you have to do is look at their tax reform to know that (which gave 82% of the cuts to the richest people).

We need to change our economic policy to one that is fair for everyone in our society -- not just the rich, as Republican economic policy does. This is why we must flip Congress this year (and then the White House in 2020). We cannot instigate fairer economic policies (and develop indicators to tell us how the whole population is doing), until the Democrats are back in power.

The charts above are from The New York Times.

Winning ?

Political Cartoon is by Signe Wilkinson at philly.com.

POLL - Roe vs Wade Overturned If Kavanaugh Confirmed

These charts show the results of a recent Public Religion Research Institute Poll -- done between August 22nd and September 2nd of a national sample of 1,856 adults, with a margin of error of 2.7 points.

It shows that Americans believe the Supreme Court did the right thing with their 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision by a 23 point margin (56% to 33%). That decision has been the law of this land for over four decades now, and the public does not want it to be overturned.

But they also believe the court doesn't care what the people want. They believe if Kavanaugh is confirmed to be a Supreme Court justice, the court will overturn Roe vs. Wade. That's the opinion of adults by a 23 point margin (48% to 25%). And all three political groups agree -- Republicans by a 2 point margin (34% to 32%), Independents by an 18 point margin (47% to 29%), and Democrats by a 47 point margin (64% to 17%).

Fake ?

Political Cartoon is by Jimmy Margulies at jimmymargulies.com.

Another Poll Shows Democrats With A Double-Digit Lead

These charts reflect the results of a recent Politico / Morning Consult Poll -- done between September 6th and 9th of a national sample of 1,988 registered voters, with a 2 point margin of error.

Like several other polls, it shows the Democrats with a double-digit lead (10 points) on the generic ballot (45% to 35%). One reason why this is true (other than the unpopularity of the Republican in the White House) is the public's opinion on the two parties in Congress.

While the voters are enamored of either of the congressional political parties, they dislike Republicans significantly more than Democrats. The Republicans have a 22 point more unfavorable than favorable difference, while the Democratic difference is only 8 points.

Hurricane Responses

Political Cartoon is by Kevin Kallaugher in The Baltimore Sun.

YES! The November Election Is All About Donald Trump!

(This caricature of our liar-in-chief is by DonkeyHotey.)

I know the talking heads on cable news are saying the election is not about Donald Trump, but the Congress will be decided on local issues. And I know I sound like a broken record. But the truth as I see it is that this election (more than any other midterm election) is a referendum on the Trump administration. Those who like Trump will vote for Republicans, and those who dislike him (or are scared by him) will vote for Democrats.

To a certain extent, all midterm elections are about the sitting president. But this one takes that to an extreme. And Trump has made it that way by taking credit for everything.

Here's just some of how Dana Milbank describes it in The Washington Post:

President Trump is getting his wish: It’s all about him.
The election, that is.
New evidence indicates that the midterm elections in seven weeks will be the clearest referendum on a president in at least 80 years.
But while it may delight the narcissistic president that the 2018 midterms are entirely about him, this is precisely what his fellow Republicans were hoping to avoid. With Trump’s support at historic lows — 60 percent overall disapprove of his performance, including 59 percent of independents — Republicans scrambling to hold the House and Senate have been struggling in vain to make the election about other issues: tax cuts, Democrats’ personal foibles — anything to avoid the election being about Trump.
This has failed, bigly.
Midterm elections have generally come to be seen as the electorate’s reaction to a presidency. But this one is on a whole different level. “In no previous election,” Gary Jacobson, a University of California political scientist who crunched the numbers, tells me, “has the linkage between opinions of the president and how people are likely to vote been as strong as this time.” Jacobson’s research goes back to the 1930s, before which there was no polling and therefore no ability to compare.
Jacobson, who presented his findings to the American Political Science Association recently and provided me with updated data, found in 93.1 percent of cases this year, voters’ approval or disapproval of the president is correlated with their planned votes for or against the president’s party in House races. That’s an all-time high. It averaged 86 percent in recent elections, 74 percent in the 1980s and 1990s.
And it’s more than a casual correlation. Using regression analysis, Jacobson determined that for every percentage point movement in Trump’s job approval rating, support for Republican House candidates in the midterm elections move by 0.75 percentage points — the highest effect ever seen. For Barack Obama, it was 0.50 percentage points. For George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, closer to 0.25 percentage points. There isn’t as much data about Senate voting, but the relationship has been virtually identical.
This has been caused by a combination of historical trends and Trump’s uniquely polarizing status.
Jacobson, working with data from Gallup, the American National Election Studies and others, writes that as recently as 1990, there was only a 31-point difference between how Republicans and Democrats rated the president’s performance in midterm election years. That jumped to a roughly 70-point gap during the midterms of 2006, 2010 and 2014. This year? Seventy-eight percent.
At the same time, party loyalty — the tendency of Democrats and Republicans to vote for their own party’s congressional candidate — has grown from the mid-70s in the 1980s to 90 percent in the past decade. This year? Ninety-six percent.

No Credit

Political Cartoon is by Jeff Darcy at cleveland.com.

The Enemy Of Moral Progress

Saturday, September 15, 2018

The Decline Of Unions

$800 Million Dark Money Spent On Campaigns 2010-2016

Thanks to the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, groups may spend an unlimited amount on political campaigns. And those groups don't have to reveal where they get the money they spend. That money spent without revealing the donors is called "dark money". Between January of 2010 and December of 2016, about $800 million of dar money was spent on political campaigns. And three quarters of that money ($600 million) has been spent by only 15 groups. Those 15 groups are listed above. Note that most of the money spent is by right-wing groups (who spent the money supporting Republicans).

This information is contained in a new report from Issue One called Dark Money Illuminated.

Picking On Donnie

Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at claytoonz.com.

Donald Trump's Daily Job Approval Is Mired In The 30's

This chart reflects the daily results of Trump's job approval numbers. It is from the YouGov Poll, and was done daily between September 8th and 14th of a national sample of 1,000 adults. The margin of error is 3.7 points.

As you can see, Trump's approval is rather steady in the upper 30's. The disapproval is just as steady and stayed in the 51 to 55 percentage range. These are not the kind of numbers that will help GOP candidates in competitive House districts.


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

The Privilege Given White Women Is Wrong (And Racist)

The woman pictured is Dallas police officer Amber Guyger. A few days ago, she entered an apartment that was not hers (without permission or a warrant) and killed the innocent occupant (a Black man).

Since then, there has seemed to be a concerted effort by Dallas police and many of the media to vilify the innocent victim and protect Guyger. She is pictured as having made a "mistake". Part of that is because she was a police officer, but a bigger part is because she was a white woman -- and in our society, white women are always given the benefit of the doubt when dealing with Blacks.

This is part of the racism in our society, and it's time for decent Whites to stand up and fight this racism. No color or sex should be given a privileged status -- especially in this country, where we pride ourselves on equality and the rule of law.

The following is part of an excellent op-ed by Kirsten West Sivali in Essence:

Dallas police officer Amber Guyger deserves the benefit of the doubt in the September 6 shooting death of 26-year-old Botham Jean; that is, if the reports being churned out by mainstream media outlets are to be believed. We are supposed to believe that she was neither reckless nor negligent when she, in essence, broke into Jean’s South Side Flats’ apartment Thursday night and killed him—and that her violent, criminal actions certainly weren’t intentional.
We’re supposed to believe that Guyger, that poor, over-worked woman, was exhausted after a 15-hour shift of protecting and serving the Dallas community. It’s supposed to make sense to us that she parked on the wrong level of her apartment complex, and entered what she thought was her own home—despite the brightly lit apartment number on the wall and the unfamiliar bright red rug clearly indicating otherwise. And when Guyger saw the “large silhouette” of a man who ignored her “verbal commands,” it’s supposed to make sense that she opened fire to protect herself from a potentially violent intruder.
This highly questionable, ridiculous story is what we’re supposed to believe. . . .
Guyger is being given the benefit of the doubt because she is a white woman who feared the large Black man in front of her; and in a white supremacist society, fear of Black bodies is just cause for murder, no matter how unfounded and racist the fear is that grips their throats and guides their trigger fingers.
More specifically, white women’s fear of Black male bodies carries more weight than the lives of the Black men they kill. After all, what’s one, dead Black man when a white woman’s future is at stake? . . .
Let’s make it plain: If a Black police officer entered a white woman’s apartment and killed her, the conversations around this case would be vastly different. The blue of his or her uniform would be washed away until only the negro remained. There would be no delicate wording, no calls for nuance, no questions as to the criminal, unjustified, violent nature of their actions, because to be Black is to not only live under constant threat, but be perceived as a constant threat. An avalanche of unverified excuses have been presented to protect Guyger, because the alleged fear of white killers wielding service weapons always takes precedence. Unhinged state power, exacerbated by the pedestaling and privileging of white women, is as American as redlining, lynchings, and white supremacist bigots in the White House.
“Botham Jean was exactly the sort of citizen we want to have in the city of Dallas,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said. “A professional … a believer in his church, a neighbor to his friends. A man that always had a smile on his face. And for that reason, this is a terrible, terrible thing that has happened. Not only has he lost his life, but we’ve lost a potential leader for this city.”
No, it is a terrible, terrible thing because Botham Jean was a human being, not a “special” kind of Black man more deserving of life than those who carry the stench of caricatured and criminalized Blackness upon their skin. The racialized contortions to render him a perfect Black victim—unlike the “bad niggers” James Baldwin told us about in his 1966 Report from Occupied Territory—is a familiar, particular form of violence.
Jean’s life would have mattered even if he were not an upstanding member of the community who sang in the church choir and taught Bible study.
And Guyger, despite being a white woman with a badge, should be treated as nothing more than the cowardly killer she is. Because what we know—and this nation refuses to admit—is that they are often one and the same.

Hurricane Trump

Political Cartoon is by Nate Beeler in The Columbus Dispatch.

The Party Of Fiscal Responsibility - Democrats

Friday, September 14, 2018

Our Liar-In-Chief

Trump Viewed As Less Ethical Than Any Modern President

The chart above is from the Gallup Poll. The survey was done between September 3rd and 9th of a national sample of 1,513 adults, and has a 4 point margin of error.

It shows that the public, by a significant margin, believes every modern president (regardless of party) was more ethical than Donald Trump. And that includes the ethically-challenged Richard Nixon.

How can evangelicals (who claim to be "Family values" voters) continue to support this man. Do ethics no longer matter to them?

Sand Bags (Trump Version)

Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at claytoonz.com.

Another Poll Shows The Texas Senate Race Very Close

Yesterday, I showed you the results of a Texas Senate race poll that had Cruz in the lead by 3 points (within the poll's margin of error). Now another poll has been released, and it also has the race within the poll's margin of error (Cruz 46% to O'Rourke 42%).

I continue to believe this race could be won by Democrat Beto O'Rourke -- if Democrats and Independents turn out to vote in much larger numbers than in a normal midterm election.

This survey was the CBS Channel 11 / Dixie Strategies Poll -- done on September 6th and 7th of a sample of 519 likely Texas voters, with a margin of error of 4.3 points.

Trump's Ready (To Throw Paper Towels)

Political Cartoon is by Dave Granlund at davegranlund.com.

Majority Of The Public Trusts News Media More Than Trump

In the hope of countering all the well-deserved bad publicity he has received, Donald Trump has waged a war against the news media. He has repeatedly called them fake and untrustworthy, and has even labeled them as the "enemy of the people" (emulating his authoritarian idols).

Fortunately, most Americans are not as dumb as Trump thought they were. A majority (54%) says they trust the news media more than they trust Trump. And an even bigger majority (69%) says the news media is an important part of democracy. Only 30% trusts Trump more, and 21% thinks the media is the enemy of the people.

In other words, only Trump's die-hard supporters accept his ridiculous claims. Decent Americans know better.

The charts above reflect the results of the latest Quinnipiac University Poll -- done between September 6th and 9th of a national sample of 1,038 voters, with a 3.7 point margin of error.

Media Dummy

Political Cartoon is by Joe Heller at hellertoon.com.

The Poor Are Being Left Behind In This Economy

The U.S. economy is doing pretty well right now -- if you are rich. But the working and middle classes are still struggling just to maintain their buying power against inflation. And one group, the poor, have been left behind in the economy Trump brags about. Although still the richest nation in the world, the U.S. poverty rate remains one of the highest in the developed world.

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released statistics on poverty in this country. While poverty was beginning to get better in the last few years of the Obama administration, that has slowed dramatically under the policies of Trump and the GOP Congress -- and they want now to cut programs that are trying to keep poverty from rising again.

Here is some of how The New York Times reports on the Census Bureaus newest poverty report:

In July, President Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers declared that the country’s five-decade war on poverty was largely over and called it a success.
On Wednesday, the Census Bureau released its 2017 annual report on the poor that offered a stark counterpoint, suggesting that the national recovery has bypassed many of the 40 million to 45 million Americans estimated to be living below the federal poverty level.
While median household income rose 1.8 percent last year, the national poverty rate remained stubbornly high at 12.3 percent. That was just a slight decrease from the previous year’s level of 12.7 percent, according to the federal government’s most comprehensive annual gauge of economic hardship.
The supplemental poverty measure for 2017, widely regarded by economists as more accurate, was even higher, 13.9 percent in 2017, essentially unchanged from the year before. That is an improvement from the recent high of 16 percent recorded in 2013. But economists and advocates for poor people say the relatively modest gains over the last few years are fragile, endangered by the Trump administration’s policies and vulnerable to a long-overdue economic downturn.

“If this is the best we can do, it isn’t good,” said Timothy Smeeding, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who studies poverty and economic mobility.
“Things really tapered off this year, after a serious drop in previous years,” he said. “In terms of the boom, the party has lasted a long time, a lot longer than we thought, but not everybody is getting invited — people who are working several jobs, taking jobs without benefits, kids who are growing up in poverty. The fruits of the recovery are not being spread around evenly.”
The report comes as the Trump administration seeks to curtail safety net programs, in part by playing down the severity of poverty in the country. . . .
Trump’s economic team, led by Kevin Hassett, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, has questioned both of the Census Bureau’s poverty calculations. The real poverty rate is much lower, the team has argued, citing a 2017 paper by two conservative economists that used a statistical analysis based on spending patterns by the poor that pegged the rate at closer to 3 percent. . . .
The Census Bureau’s official poverty measure, calculated at 12.3 percent last year, is widely viewed as an outdated formula.
Most economists consider the poverty number published concurrently in the supplemental report, which is 1.6 percentage points higher, to be a more precise measure because it factors in the cost of expenses like housing, child care and transportation, while estimating the positive effect of government benefits like Social Security, Medicaid and the earned-income tax credit.
NOTE -- At 12.3%, there are about 40 million people living in poverty. At the more precise rate of  13.9%, that rises to about 45 million people. Neither is an acceptable level of poverty for a country as rich as the United States.