Sunday, September 22, 2019

Open Or Closed?


New Poll Has Elizabeth Warren Leading In Iowa


The chart above shows the results of the new Des Moines Register / CNN / Mediacom Poll of Iowa Democrats. The poll was done between September 14th and 18th of 602 likely Democratic caucus attendees in Iowa. The margin of error is 4 points.

The poll shows Elizabeth Warren leading Joe Biden by 2 points (22% to 20%). Bernie Sanders is third with 11%. They are the only candidates in double-digits.

Pete Buttigieg has 9% and Kamala Harris had 6%. Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker each had 3%. Beto O'Rourke, Andrew Yang, Tom Steyer, and Tulsi Gabbard all had 2% support. No other candidate could get at least 2%.

The Des Moines Register said this was the first time Warren has led their poll.

Warren also leads among those who say they are considering voting for her with 71%. Others being considered are Biden (60%), Buttigieg and Harris (55%), Sanders (50%), Booker (42%), O'Rourke (38%), and Klobuchar (37%).

Support is still very fluid, with only about one in five saying their minds are made up and about 63% saying they could change their minds.

Robbing The Military

Political Cartoon is by Dave Granlund at davegranlund.com.

Democrats Need To Do The RIGHT Thing - Not The POLITICAL Thing - Start Impeachment Proceedings Now!


Anyone who has been paying attention has to know that Donald Trump has broken the law, and he should be impeached and removed from office. He colluded (conspired) with Russia to subvert the 2016 election, and he committed at least half a dozen acts of obstruction of justice in trying to kill the Mueller investigation. This was all after violating campaign finance law by paying off a woman he had sex with to protect his presidential candidacy.

Any of those things individually is worthy of impeachment. And I have been very disappointed in most Democratic members of the House of Representatives (including Speaker Pelosi) for their refusal to start impeachment proceedings.

I understand why the Republicans defend Trump. They put their party and their own political futures above the Constitution and their country. But Democrats are supposed to be better than that.

We've heard Democrats say it would be futile to impeach Trump because the Senate Republicans would protect him. That's a terrible excuse. They weren't elected to just do what Republicans allow them to do. They were elected to do the right thing for their country.

We've also heard that starting impeachment proceedings might hurt Democrats in the 2020 election. Another terrible excuse. They weren't elected to protect their own political futures (as Republicans do). They were elected to do the right thing for their country. And personally, I think it would not hurt their chances in 2020 -- voters like to see their politicians have the courage to do the right thing (even when they don't necessarily agree with it).

Now we find out that Trump continues to break the law, and shame the office of the presidency. He has tried to extort the government of Ukraine to find (or invent) some dirt on Joe Biden (who could be his opponent in the general election in 2020), by threatening to withhold money budgeted by Congress to help defend Ukraine. Using the government for his personal benefit is definitely worthy of impeachment, and we have waited long enough.

Democrats must do the right thing! Enough is enough! Impeachment proceedings must be started immediately!

Holding Pattern

Political Cartoon is by Monte Wolverton at cagle.com.

A Foreign Reporter Looks At A Trump Press Conference

(Caricature of Donald Trump is by DonkeyHotey.)

The photo at left is of Australian journalist (Guardian Australia) Lenore Taylor. The post below is what she had to say after viewing one of Trump's press conferences.


As a regular news reader I thought I was across the eccentricities of the US president. Most mornings in Australia begin with news from America – the bid to buy Greenland, adjustments to a weather map hand-drawn with a Sharpie or another self-aggrandising tweet. Our headlines and news bulletins, like headlines and news bulletins everywhere, are full of Trump.
As a political reporter for most of the last 30 years I have also endured many long and rambling political press conferences with Australian prime ministers and world leaders.
But watching a full presidential Trump press conference while visiting the US this week I realised how much the reporting of Trump necessarily edits and parses his words, to force it into sequential paragraphs or impose meaning where it is difficult to detect.
The press conference I tuned into by chance from my New York hotel room was held in Otay Mesa, California, and concerned a renovated section of the wall on the Mexican border.
I joined as the president was explaining at length how powerful the concrete was. Very powerful, it turns out. It was unlike any wall ever built, incorporating the most advanced “concrete technology”. It was so exceptional that would-be wall-builders from three unnamed countries had visited to learn from it.
There were inner tubes in the wall that were also filled with concrete, poured in via funnels, and also “rebars” so the wall would withstand anyone attempting to cut through it with a blowtorch.
The wall went very deep and could not be burrowed under. Prototypes had been tested by 20 “world-class mountain climbers – That’s all they do, they love to climb mountains”, who had been unable to scale it.
It was also “wired, so that we will know if somebody is trying to break through”, although one of the attending officials declined a presidential invitation to discuss this wiring further, saying, “Sir, there could be some merit in not discussing it”, which the president said was a “very good answer”.
The wall was “amazing”, “world class”, “virtually impenetrable” and also “a good, strong rust colour” that could later be painted. It was designed to absorb heat, so it was “hot enough to fry an egg on”. There were no eggs to hand, but the president did sign his name on it and spoke for so long the TV feed eventually cut away, promising to return if news was ever made.
He did, at one point, concede that would-be immigrants, unable to scale, burrow, blow torch or risk being burned, could always walk around the incomplete structure, but that would require them walking a long way. This seemed to me to be an important point, but the monologue quickly returned to the concrete.
In writing about this not-especially-important or unusual press conference I’ve run into what US reporters must encounter every day. I’ve edited skittering, half-finished sentences to present them in some kind of consequential order and repeated remarks that made little sense.
In most circumstances, presenting information in as intelligible a form as possible is what we are trained for. But the shock I felt hearing half an hour of unfiltered meanderings from the president of the United States made me wonder whether the editing does our readers a disservice.
I’ve read so many stories about his bluster and boasting and ill-founded attacks, I’ve listened to speeches and hours of analysis, and yet I was still taken back by just how disjointed and meandering the unedited president could sound. Here he was trying to land the message that he had delivered at least something towards one of his biggest campaign promises and sounding like a construction manager with some long-winded and badly improvised sales lines.
I’d understood the dilemma of normalising Trump’s ideas and policies – the racism, misogyny and demonisation of the free press. But watching just one press conference from Otay Mesa helped me understand how the process of reporting about this president can mask and normalise his full and alarming incoherence.

Putin's Doormat

Political Cartoon is by Mike Stanfill at ragingpencils.com.

An Amazing Miracle


Saturday, September 21, 2019

Draining The Treasury


Trump's Actions On Whistleblower Makes Him Look GUILTY!

The whistleblower story about Trump's call to a foreign leader is growing larger every day. It now looks like Trump may well have committed impeachable new crimes -- like extortion (using withholding of congressional funds to force a foreign leader into doing something that would personally benefit Trump) or campaign finance violation (seeking help with his 2020 campaign from a foreign leader).

And in the case of the latter, Trump can't claim ignorance of the law this time (like he and his family did when the Russians helped him in 2016).

For his part, Trump claims the whistleblower's report is of no importance -- just a "partisan hack job". That makes one wonder, why block the release of the whistleblower's claim to Congress then?

Trump's minions are breaking the law by refusing to release the claim, but Trump could order the release of the claim to Congress anytime he wants. If it doesn't show him committing a crime, why won't he order that release. Failure to do that makes him look guilty (as though the whistleblower's claim is true and Trump committed a crime).

Trump's enormous ego, and his belief that he is above the law, may well have gotten him in serious trouble this time. If the claim is true, and his failure to order it's release makes it look that way, then even Speaker Pelosi may have to admit that the time for impeachment is NOW!

Presidenting

Political Cartoon is by Dave Whamond at cagle.com.

Like Other States, Texans Want Stricter Gun Laws





The myth is that Texas is a gun-loving state, and wouldn't support stricter gun laws. But Texans are not so different from the rest of the country. They don't want guns easily bought by dangerous people.

About 84.4% of registered voters in Texas support requiring ALL people trying to purchase a gun to pass a background check. And 75.7% support a red flag law (which would allow a judge to take the guns away from a dangerous person).

By smaller, but still significant margins, Texans also support banning ammunition clips holding more than 10 bullets (61.1%), and banning the sale of assault weapons (59.4%).

The charts above reflect the results of a new University of Texas at Tyler Poll -- done between September 13th and 15th of 1,199 registered Texas voters, with a margin of error of 2.8 points.

This Ain't Right

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

"The Most Purely Evil Human . . . And The Most Insecure"

(This image of an evil Donald Trump is from Capitol Hill Blue.)

Tony Schwartz is the writer who actually wrote Trump's book, The Art of the Deal. He had to work closely with Donald Trump to write the book, and that experience did not leave him with a very good opinion of Trump.

Here's what he told Tom Nicholson in Esquire:

Usually, when you move on from a job, the incredibly irritating aspects of former colleagues turn into foibles on which burnished anecdotes hinge on. You treat them more kindly in retrospect, now that you don't have to breathe the same air as them eight hours a day. It functions like entropy, but specifically for people who heat fish up in the microwave.
Donald Trump apparently does not enjoy that effect. His ghostwriter on The Art of the Deal, Tony Schwartz, told Reddit during an Ask Me Anything session that the president is "the most purely evil human being" Schwartz has ever met.
"I believe deeply that most people are better than their worst behaviours," he wrote. "I also believe there are some who are simply irredeemable and evil. [Psychiatrist and author] Scott Peck called them 'People of the Lie'. They lack any conscience, as Trump does, and so they're almost purely evil. Trump is the most purely evil human being I've ever met, and also the most insecure."
The worst thing about working with Trump? "The shortness of his attention span and his utter lack of interest in anything but himself."
Schwartz has spent the last few years doing a very public form of penance for helping to build the edifice of Trump as a master businessman by dragging him at every opportunity. He added that the biggest change in Trump since the time Schwartz worked with him was that he'd become more rabidly horrible.
"If he had any ideology when I met him, it was faintly libertarian," Schwartz said. "As in: You do whatever you want to to do so long as it doesn't get in the way of my doing whatever the hell I want to do. In the last few years I believe he has moved relentlessly to the right. He's become more nativist, racist, narrow-minded and he's now just a shade to the right of Attila the Hun."
Any more for any more? "I never saw him read a book, and other than The Art of the Deal, I suspect he's never read a book in his adult life," Schwartz said. "As for comprehension for what he does read, I'd say it's early high school level. To judge his writing level, read his tweets, particularly the angrier ones, which is most, and which he writes himself. His way of communicating is very primitive."

Trump Corruption

Political Cartoon is by Mike Stanfill at ragingpencils.com.

Nursery Rhyme


Friday, September 20, 2019

Obama Vs. Trump


It Is Still Barack Obama's Democratic Party



The charts above reflect the results of the recent NBC News / Wall Street Journal Poll -- done between September 13th and 16th of a national sample of 506 Democratic primary voters, with a margin of error of 4.36 points.

If you had any doubts as to who is the current leader of the Democratic Party, this should answer them. Democrats still love and respect President Barack Obama.

About 8 our of 10 (78%) think Obama did the best job he could (especially considering he had to contend with a recalcitrant Republican Congress the majority of his term). And a whopping 90% say they still have a positive view of Obama. I seriously doubt any other Democratic politician can equal that 90%.

Democrats love President Obama, and he will be the party's leader until another Democrat moves into the White House.

The Best Time Of The Day

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

College Student Voting Doubled From 2014 to 2018


The chart above is from the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education. It is their report titled National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement -- and it is good news for Democrats.

Much has been made in the past about how young voters prefer Democrats, but don't vote in large numbers. This shows that is changing. While only 19.3% of college students voted in 2014, that doubled in 2018 to 40.3%. And the rise in college student voting was across the board -- in both two-year and four-year colleges, and in both private and public colleges.

I'm betting that percentage rises again in 2020!

Pot / Kettle

Political Cartoon is by Gary Huck at huckkonopackicartoons.com.

What Did Trump Promise A Foreign Leader - And Why Is He Trying To Hide It From Congress?

You have probably heard about the latest Trump administration scandal. On a call to a foreign leader (likely Putin), Trump made a promise. That promise troubled an official in the intelligence community so much that he properly filed a whistleblower report.

Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson found the report determined the complaint was credible and of "urgent concern" (which would require its reporting to Congress). He forwarded the complaint to Joseph Maguire (acting director of national intelligence).

Maguire, after conferring with the Justice Department (and probably the White House) is now refusing to turn over the complaint to Congress -- even though the seven day time limit to do so has expired. He did meet in secret with a congressional committee, but refused to turn over the complaint or to even tell them what it contained.

In other words, he's breaking the law -- probably on orders from the White House.

What did Trump promise that foreign leader? Would it be damaging to this country or our allies? Or just embarrassing to Trump?

This is just one more example of Trump flouting the law, and refusing to honor the Constitution's division of power. He thinks he can do whatever he wants, and refuse any oversight from Congress when questioned. He's not acting like a president. He's trying to rule like a dictator!

Here's what the editorial board of The Washington Post says:

A NEW dispute has arisen between Congress and the Trump administration over a whistleblower complaint from within the intelligence community. By law, it should be shared with Congress, but the administration is refusing to do so. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) is entirely correct to insist that the administration follow the law. He should pursue the matter until it does.
According to Mr. Schiff, on Aug. 12 a whistleblower within the intelligence community filed a complaint that met the legal description of a disclosure involving a “serious or flagrant problem, abuse, violation of law or Executive order, or deficiency” related to funding, administration or operation of classified intelligence activity. Neither the subject of the complaint nor the whistleblower’s agency has been disclosed, but the complaint was deemed of “urgent concern” by the intelligence community’s inspector general, Michael Atkinson.
Mr. Atkinson sent it to Joseph Maguire, acting director of national intelligence. According to the congressman, a preliminary review by the inspector general determined that “there are reasonable grounds to believe” the information “is credible.” So far, this is how the system is supposed to work under the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act of 1998 and subsequent presidential directives and laws. Mr. Maguire, the law says, “shall” forward such a whistleblower complaint to the congressional intelligence committees within seven days.
So far, that hasn’t happened. Mr. Schiff says the intelligence community’s explanation to him is that the complaint “concerns conduct by someone outside of the Intelligence Community” involving “confidential and potentially privileged communications.” The congressman says he thinks the intelligence community may be covering up misconduct involving the White House or the president. We don’t know. But Mr. Schiff says this is the first time he’s aware of that a director of national intelligence has overruled the inspector general and concealed a whistleblower complaint, for which the director has “neither the legal authority nor the discretion.” And that is suspicious. Mr. Schiff has issued a subpoena and demanded action by Tuesday, or appearance at a public hearing Thursday.
Mr. Trump has made plain his distaste for congressional oversight. Elsewhere, he’s resisting disclosure of his tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee, although the law in that case also is straightforward. Oversight is a vital function of Congress, one that’s not always performed as strenuously as it should be. At the same time, the Supreme Court has ruled that it can’t lead to boundless inquisitions, or what Mr. Trump would call witch hunts. The court said the investigating must be limited to “a legitimate task of the Congress.”
In the case of the intelligence-community whistleblower, this clearly falls under the definition of a legitimate task of Congress. Someone inside the intelligence community decided to follow the rules and filed this complaint for a reason. Neither Mr. Maguire nor Mr. Trump should be able to conceal such information. They should respect and uphold the law, not contravene it.

For Sale

Political Cartoon is by Matt Wuerker at Politico.com.

The State Of Our Union


Thursday, September 19, 2019

The Most Expensive Healthcare


Number And Rate Of Abortions Has Dropped Significantly


The chart above is from a new report from the Guttmacher Institute. It shows that the abortion rate fell to a record low in the United States in 2017. The report also documented that the number of abortions has also dropped.

I'm sure the right-wing congressional GOP and religious fundamentalists will be quick to claim this is due to the restrictions they placed on abortion and the clinics they have forced to close. But that is not the case at all. The abortion rate fell in states with new restrictions and in states without any new restrictions. It fell in states with clinic closures and in states with an increased number of clinics.

Here is some of what the Guttmacher Institute report said:

Between 2011 and 2017, the U.S. abortion landscape changed significantly. As documented by the Guttmacher Institute’s periodic abortion provider census, all the main measures of abortion declined, including the number of abortions, the abortion rate and the abortion ratio. The declines are part of trends that go back decades.
  • The number of abortions fell by 196,000—a 19% decline from 1,058,000 abortions in 2011 to 862,000 abortions in 2017.
  • The abortion rate (the number of abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44) fell by 20%, from 16.9 in 2011 to 13.5 in 2017.
  • The abortion ratio (the number of abortions per 100 pregnancies ending in either abortion or live birth) fell 13%, from 21.2 in 2011 to 18.4 in 2017.
The question of what is behind these trends has important policy implications, and the 2011–2017 period warrants particular attention because it coincided with an unprecedented wave of new abortion restrictions. During that timeframe, 32 states enacted a total of 394 new restrictions, with the vast majority of these measures having taken effect (that is, they were not struck down by a court). . . .
With the available evidence, it is impossible to pinpoint exactly which factors drove recent declines, and to what degree. However, previous Guttmacher analyses have documented that abortion restrictions, while incredibly harmful at an individual level, were not the main driver of national declines in the abortion rate in the 2008–2011 or 2011–2014 time periods. Much the same appears to hold true for the 2011–2017 timeframe, as detailed below. Rather, the decline in abortions appears to be part of a broader decline in pregnancies, as evidenced by fewer births over the same period. . . .
While there appears to be a clear link in many states between abortion restrictions—and TRAP laws in particular—and clinic closures, there is no clear pattern linking abortion restrictions to changes in the abortion rate. While 32 states enacted 394 restrictions between 2011 and 2017, nearly every state had a lower abortion rate in 2017 than in 2011, regardless of whether it had restricted abortion access (see figure 2). Several states with new restrictions actually had abortion rate increases.
Notably, 57% of the 2011–2017 decline in the number of abortions nationwide happened in the 18 states and the District Columbia that did not adopt any new abortion restrictions. Some of these states, such as California, even took steps to increase access. And even in states that enacted new restrictions and saw declines in abortion numbers, it is uncertain what role these restrictions, as opposed to other factors, played in the declines.
Similarly, there is no clear link, even indirectly, from new abortion restrictions to clinic closures to decreases in abortion rates. Among the 26 states and the District of Columbia that had a decline in clinics between 2011 and 2017, 24 states saw declines in their abortion rate (see Table 1). However, 13 of the 15 states that added clinics also saw declines in their abortion rates, as did eight of the nine states where the number of clinics stayed the same. . . .
If abortion restrictions are not the main driver of the 2011–2017 abortion decline, what can explain this trend? A number of possible explanations exist, some of them more plausible than others, including changes around abortion attitudes and stigma, contraceptive use, sexual activity, infertility and self-managed abortion.
Antiabortion activists often argue that more people are turning against abortion rights and that this shift in attitudes can explain broad-based declines in the number of abortions across the country, including in states that did not enact new restrictions. Under this theory, changes in public opinion compel more pregnant individuals to choose to give birth rather than obtain an abortion. This theory is flawed on several levels.
Public opinion on abortion, while fluctuating at times, has remained remarkably stable over the long term. The Pew Research Center found that abortion attitudes in 2018 were essentially the same as in the mid-1990s, with Gallup and an ABC News/Washington Post poll showing very similar trends. More to the point, these major polls do not show a decline in support for abortion rights between 2011 and 2017. Moreover, if antiabortion activists were truly winning “hearts and minds,” they would not need to rely on ever more extreme and coercive abortion restrictions, including an unprecedented wave of abortion bans passed in a number of states in the first six months of 2019.
A closely related argument focuses on the abortion ratio (the number of abortions per 100 pregnancies ending in either abortion or live birth), which fell 13% between 2011 and 2017. Abortion opponents often attribute this decline to more pregnant individuals deciding or being forced to carry a pregnancy to term. If this were the case, then there would have been a corresponding increase in births over that time, which did not happen. Rather, both the number of U.S. abortions and the number of U.S. births declined from 2011 to 2017, with births dropping by 98,000 and abortions by 196,000.
Because both abortions and births declined, it is clear that there were fewer pregnancies overall in the United States in 2017 than in 2011. The big question is why.
One possible contributing factor is contraceptive access and use. Since 2011, contraception has become more accessible, as most private health insurance plans are now required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to cover contraceptives without out-of-pocket costs. In addition, thanks to expansions in Medicaid and private insurance coverage under the ACA, the proportion of women aged 15–44 nationwide who were uninsured dropped more than 40% between 2013 and 2017. There is evidence that use of long-acting reversible contraceptive methods—specifically IUDs and implants—increased through at least 2014, especially among women in their early 20s, a population that accounts for a significant proportion of all abortions. Another study suggests that the use of IUDs might have increased in the wake of the 2016 presidential election, spurred by fears that such methods could become more expensive to access in the future. Notably, contraceptive use has driven the long-term decline in adolescent pregnancies and births, which continued through the 2011–2017 period.
Another possible contributing factor might be a decline in sexual activity. Findings from one national survey suggest a long-term increase in the number of people in the United States—mostly younger men—reporting not having sex in the past year. But in addition to a small sample size, it is unclear how well this survey captures data on sexual behavior. Other data show that the proportion of high school students who have ever had sexual intercourse declined between 2011 and 2017, with most of the decline happening in the 2013–2015 period. However, this is unlikely to have had a major impact on the U.S. abortion rate, as minors account for only 4% of abortions overall. In sum, the available data do not indicate significant decreases in sexual activity among women in their 20s and 30s, the groups that together account for 85% of all abortions nationally.
Yet another possibility is that infertility is increasing in the United States, thereby reducing the chances of getting pregnant and subsequently seeking to obtain an abortion. However, it is highly unlikely that there would have been a big enough spike in infertility to meaningfully impact pregnancy and abortion rates in the 2011–2017 timeframe.
More generally, there are a host of other potential factors that could be driving declines in pregnancy rates, from individuals’ evolving desires about whether and when to become parents to people’s changing economic and social circumstances.
Finally, it is possible that the 2011–2017 decline in abortion was not as large as it appears from the Guttmacher Institute’s abortion provider census: There could have been an increase in self-managed abortions happening outside of medical facilities, which the census would be unable to capture. The Guttmacher abortion census providing data for 2017 found that 18% of nonhospital facilities reported having seen at least one patient who had attempted to end a pregnancy on her own, an increase from 12% in 2014 (the first year that question was included in the survey). The drugs used in a medication abortion (misoprostol and mifepristone) are becoming increasingly available online, as are resources about how to safely and effectively self-manage an abortion outside of a clinical setting (see “Self-Managed Medication Abortion: Expanding the Available Options for U.S. Abortion Care,” 2018). More evidence is necessary to better understand these emerging trends and how to serve the needs of patients as technology and new options for self-managing an abortion are changing access to and availability of abortion.

Light Bulb / Light Of Day

Political Cartoon is by Gary Huck at huckkonopackicartoons.com.

The Latest Poll On Democratic Candidates Support







The charts above use information in the latest Economist / YouGov Poll. Between September 14th and 17th they questioned a national sample of 603 Democrats and Leaners. (No margin of error was given for this group.)

Bad Witness

Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at claytoonz.com.

Chaos? Only Until Barry Berke Took Over The Questioning!

(This is a screen-shot from c-span.org of Berke questioning Lewandowski.)

If you watched the beginning of Lewandowski's testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, you were probably disappointed. It certainly looked like chaos in action, with Democrats failing to get the testimony they needed. I hope you stuck around for the end. Things changed dramatically when Democratic counsel Barry Berke took over the questioning.

Here is how Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin describes it:

Corey Lewandowski sneered and dodged and raised phony privileges when questioned by members of the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. He did, however, make a fatal error (fatal to President Trump, that is) when he repeatedly said the White House had instructed him not to answer questions.
After the hearing, Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) told CNN: “Article 3 of Nixon’s impeachment was obstruction of Congress, refusing to obey defined congressional subpoenas, pleading imaginary privileges. And obviously that’s what the president has been doing.” In short, Lewandowski’s own conduct provided evidence of obstruction.
The real excitement came, however, after the media decided it was all chaos and Democrats had accomplished nothing. Democrats’ counsel Barry Berke got 30 minutes to question Lewandowski and made the most of it.
Here’s what he accomplished:
1. Berke forced Lewandowski to acknowledge that when he said on national television multiple times he would “voluntarily” appear before special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, that was false. Berke demonstrated Lewandowski also lied when he said on TV he had not been asked to testify. Lewandowski asserted he had no obligation to tell the media (and the public) the truth.
2. Berke made plain that Lewandowski took the Fifth and refused to testify for the special counsel unless granted immunity. He also showed Lewandowski clips of him publicly stating that when you take the Fifth, you’ve done something wrong.
3. Berke established that before asking Lewandowski to take a message to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the White House just so happened to dangle a White House job before him.
4. Berke established that Lewandowski was absolutely loyal to Trump yet never delivered the message.
5. Berke also established that Lewandowski wanted to have a private meeting with Sessions so there would be no record.
In short, Berke made perfectly clear that Lewandowski’s actions (refusing to deliver Trump’s instructions, demanding immunity, lying on TV, creating no record) demonstrated he knew he was being asked to do something wrong or illegal.
Now, that doesn’t show Trump thought he was doing something illegal, but Berke did underscore a finding of the Mueller report (which few read) that Trump instructed Lewandowski to talk to Sessions to curtail the Russia investigation. This is one of the clearest instances of obstruction, one that Mueller found met all the elements of the crime of obstruction. And along the way, Berke demonstrated that Lewandowski, who declared his candidacy for the U.S. Senate, is a habitual liar who thinks nothing of lying publicly as long as he is not under oath. . . .
Hey, not bad for one afternoon. I look forward to Berke’s next inquisition.

Saudi Drone

Political Cartoon is by Matt Wuerker at Politico.com.

The Weakest And Least Respected


Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Unfit


New Poll - Biden Leading, Warren Gaining, & Harris Falling




The new NBC News / Wall Street Journal Poll has just been released. It was done between September 13th and 16th of a national sample of 506 Democratic primary voters, and has a margin of error of 4.4 points.

The results are good for both Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren. Joe Biden is still leading with 31%, a rise of 5 points since this same poll in July. Elizabeth Warren is solidly in second place with 25%, a rise of 6 points since July.

Bernie Sanders has 14%, a rise of only 1 point since July. Pete Buttigieg has 7%, which is exactly what he had in July. Sanders and Buttigieg are stuck in place, while Biden and Warren are gaining in support.

The candidate in trouble is Kamala Harris. She had 13% in July, but now has only 5% support. That's a huge drop of 8 points.

The second chart shows Biden getting the support of 42% of moderates/conservatives, while Warren gets 36% of liberals. Sanders gets only 19% of the liberal vote.

The third chart shows the Democratic electorate is warming up to Elizabeth Warren. 35% are enthusiastic about her candidacy, while only 25% say that about Sanders and 23% about Biden. When you add in those who are comfortable with those who are enthusiastic, Warren still leads with 70%, while Biden has 64% and Sanders has 62%.

There are still several months before the voting begins, and anything can happen in that time, but for now it looks like the Warren candidacy is the one to watch.

A GOP Joke

Political Cartoon is by Michael de Adder at deadder.net.

The Public's Opinion Of The Four Leading Democrats





The charts above reflect the results of the NPR / PBS NewsHour / Marist Poll. The poll was done between September 5th and 8th. They questioned 1,317 adults (with a 3.6 point margin of error), 1,160 registered voters (with a 3.8 point margin of error), and 542 Democrats/Leaners (with a 5.6 point margin of error).