Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Corruption Vs. Rule Of Law

Biden, Warren, And Sanders Lead In Super Tuesday States

The chart above is from the new CBS News Battleground Tracker / YouGov Poll -- done between January 16th and 23rd of 8,593 Democratic voters in the 14 Super Tuesday states, and has a margin of error of 1.6 points.

Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren remain far ahead of their competitors in the Democratic race. Pete Buttigieg still has trouble getting traction outside of Iowa, and in fact has been overtaken by Michael Bloomberg (who has spent over a hundred million on advertising in the Super Tuesday states.

Quid Pro Quo

Political Cartoon is by Ed Hall at Artizans.com.

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

Monday, January 27, 2020

It Is Democracy

Views Of Democrats On Who Could Beat Trump

The chart above is from the Morning Consult Poll. The survey was done between January 17th and 19th of a national sample of 752 Democratic voters, with a 4 point margin of error.

The chart shows that a majority of Democrats think there are five qualities of a candidate that would make it harder for them to beat Donald Trump -- being gay/lesbian, being a woman, being a socialist, being older than 70, and being a candidate of color.

We can dismiss two of those immediately. There are no candidates of color left among the Democratic leaders, and a candidate over 70 would just be another such (since Trump is also over 70).

That leaves three qualities. Personally, I think we can dismiss the candidate being a woman also. Remember, Hillary Clinton got 3 million more votes than Trump in 2016, and lost only because of a quirk regarding our electoral college system. I believe the nation is ready for a female president, and neither of the two leading women candidates (Warren and Klobuchar) have the baggage than Clinton had (after years of right-wing lies told about her).

I am a bit more leery of an LGBT candidate (Buttigieg). Polls show we are a far less homophobic nation than in the past, but who knows what people will do when then are alone in the voting booth. Will they vote old prejudices?

The one that really worries me is "socialist". Many progressives would like to think they could explain that away in a general campaign. I disagree. Many decades of propaganda have too many Americans frightened of socialism. And the Republicans (especially Trump) are licking their chops at the thought of running against a self-admitted socialist.

Some of you may say that the Republicans will call any of the Democrats a socialist -- no matter who gets nominated. That is true. But the charge won't stick for any of them but Bernie Sanders. That's because they can use his own words against him (and pictures of him in Moscow and with the Sandinistas). It's why he's the only candidate they haven't attacked. They would love to have Sanders as the nominee, because they believe he would be the easiest to beat. I agree.

The Enemy Of Seniors

Political Cartoon is by Gary Huck at huckkonopackicartoons.com.

Des Moines Register Endorses Warren For President

With only a few days to go before the Iowa Democratic caucus, the state's largest newspaper (the Des Moines Register) has endorsed a candidate in the Democratic race for the presidential nomination.

The paper's editorial board has endorsed Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Here is what they had to say about their endorsement.

The outstanding caliber of Democratic candidates makes it difficult to choose just one. 
But ultimately Iowa caucusgoers need to do that. Who would make the best president at this point in the country’s history? At a time when the economic deck has become so stacked against working Americans that the gap between rich and poor is the highest in more than 50 years? At a time when a generation of war has stressed military families and sapped the treasury?
The Des Moines Register editorial board endorses Elizabeth Warren in the 2020 Iowa Democratic caucuses as the best leader for these times. 
The senior U.S. senator from Massachusetts is not the radical some perceive her to be. She was a registered Republican until 1996. She is a capitalist. “I love what markets can do,” she said. “They are what make us rich, they are what create opportunity.” 
But she wants fair markets, with rules and accountability. She wants a government that works for people, not one corrupted by cash.
A former Harvard professor and expert in bankruptcy law, she helped set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The agency was specifically designed to prevent a repeat of the banking crisis and look out for little guys swindled by lenders and credit card companies. 
She believes government should actively work to prevent and respond to abusive practices that jeopardize individuals and the country’s economy. 
Warren doesn’t measure the health of the economy by looking at the stock market or an unemployment rate that doesn’t count the longtime jobless or chronically underemployed. She measures it by how working families are doing. Many are not doing well, and Warren seeks major reforms to help them.
A qualification: Some of her ideas for “big, structural change” go too far. This board could not endorse the wholesale overhaul of corporate governance or cumulative levels of taxation she proposes. While the board has long supported single-payer health insurance, it believes a gradual transition is the more realistic approach. But Warren is pushing in the right direction.
She believes access to health care is a human right. 
She would make climate change a top priority and use her executive power to roll back Trump administration policies that prop up fossil fuels. 
She says corporations should have less Washington influence, children should be protected from gun violence, child care should be affordable, immigrants deserve compassion, mass incarceration should end and the wealthy should pay more in taxes.
Those ideas are not radical. They are right. They would improve life in America, and they are generally shared by the other Democratic candidates, who bring their own strengths to this race. 
Former Vice President Joe Biden would restore credibility in the White House and respect among allies around the world. Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg brings refreshingly smart, youthful optimism. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota offers a track record of bipartisan achievement. Much like Warren, Bernie Sanders champions the working class.
But at this moment, our country needs more. We need a president who can work the levers of government to translate ideas into signed laws and effective regulations. We need a president committed to bringing our troops home from open-ended foreign entanglements. We need a president who understands that the American dream itself is at risk: the ideal that someone who works hard and plays by the rules can get ahead, and that their children will do even better. With Warren, the Oval Office will be occupied by someone who has made rebuilding the middle class her life’s work.
These tall tasks will require resilience and courage in the face of inevitable attacks from the GOP — both during the campaign and while in office. 
Warren has proven she is tough and fearless.
But toughness can also be perceived as divisive, as can rhetoric that vilifies the wealthy, lobbyists and corporations that employ millions of people. Relentless attack mode threatens to further fracture a country riven by party, income and racial divides.
Unifying the country may not be possible, but to gain the support required to govern, she must show that her vision will lift people up rather than divide them.
Warren’s competence, respect for others and status as the nation’s first female president would be a fitting response to the ignorance, sexism and xenophobia of the Trump Oval Office. 
She is a thinker, a policy wonk and a hard worker. She remembers her own family’s struggles to make ends meet and her own desperation as a working mother needing child care.
She cares about people, and she will use her seemingly endless energy and passion to fight for them. 
At this moment, when the very fabric of American life is at stake, Elizabeth Warren is the president this nation needs.

No Soul To Find

Political Cartoon is by Ed Hall at Artizans.com.

Crimes Were Committed

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Senate GOP Monkeys

Will Bernie's Supporters Help Re-Elect Trump?

In the 2016 election, too many of Bernie Sanders' supporters were angry that he did not get the nomination -- and a significant portion of them then refused to support the Democratic nominee (Clinton) in the general election. That, combined with too many Democrats staying home (thinking Clinton would easily win), caused Donald Trump to win the electoral college.

Have Democrats learned their lesson? Hopefully, they have. I think most will actually go to the polls this year, convinced they must to keep Trump from being re-elected.

But this new poll shows the same might not be true of Bernie's supporters. About 90% of Warren supporters, 87% of Biden supporters, and 86% of Buttigieg supporters say they will vote vote the Democratic nominee -- even if their candidate does not win the nomination.

Sadly, the same is not true of Bernie supporters. Only 53% say they will vote for the Democratic nominee if it is not Sanders. Another 31% say it would depend on who the nominee is, and a whopping 16% say they would NOT vote for the Democratic nominee if it is not Bernie Sanders. Evidently that 16% (and possibly another 31%) would be happy to see Trump re-elected.

The chart above is from a recent Emerson College Poll -- done between January 21st and 23rd of a national sample of 1,128 registered voters, with a 2.8 point margin of error.

Elephant In The Room

Political Cartoon is by Ingrid Rice at Cagle.com.

Doomsday Clock Moves Close To Midnight Than Ever Before

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has moved the hands on the Doomsday Clock again. It now stands at 100 seconds (1 2/3 minutes) before midnight. That's closer to midnight (doomsday) than the clock has ever been.

Here's just part of what The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists had to say about their latest setting:

Humanity continues to face two simultaneous existential dangers—nuclear war and climate change—that are compounded by a threat multiplier, cyber-enabled information warfare, that undercuts society’s ability to respond. The international security situation is dire, not just because these threats exist, but because world leaders have allowed the international political infrastructure for managing them to erode.
In the nuclear realm, national leaders have ended or undermined several major arms control treaties and negotiations during the last year, creating an environment conducive to a renewed nuclear arms race, to the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and to lowered barriers to nuclear war. Political conflicts regarding nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea remain unresolved and are, if anything, worsening. US-Russia cooperation on arms control and disarmament is all but nonexistent.
Public awareness of the climate crisis grew over the course of 2019, largely because of mass protests by young people around the world. Just the same, governmental action on climate change still falls far short of meeting the challenge at hand. At UN climate meetings last year, national delegates made fine speeches but put forward few concrete plans to further limit the carbon dioxide emissions that are disrupting Earth’s climate. This limited political response came during a year when the effects of manmade climate change were manifested by one of the warmest years on record, extensive wildfires, and quicker-than-expected melting of glacial ice.
Continued corruption of the information ecosphere on which democracy and public decision making depend has heightened the nuclear and climate threats. In the last year, many governments used cyber-enabled disinformation campaigns to sow distrust in institutions and among nations, undermining domestic and international efforts to foster peace and protect the planet.
This situation—two major threats to human civilization, amplified by sophisticated, technology-propelled propaganda—would be serious enough if leaders around the world were focused on managing the danger and reducing the risk of catastrophe. Instead, over the last two years, we have seen influential leaders denigrate and discard the most effective methods for addressing complex threats—international agreements with strong verification regimes—in favor of their own narrow interests and domestic political gain. By undermining cooperative, science- and law-based approaches to managing the most urgent threats to humanity, these leaders have helped to create a situation that will, if unaddressed, lead to catastrophe, sooner rather than later.
Faced with this daunting threat landscape and a new willingness of political leaders to reject the negotiations and institutions that can protect civilization over the long term, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board today moves the Doomsday Clock 20 seconds closer to midnight—closer to apocalypse than ever. In so doing, board members are explicitly warning leaders and citizens around the world that the international security situation is now more dangerous than it has ever been, even at the height of the Cold War.
Civilization-ending nuclear war—whether started by design, blunder, or simple miscommunication—is a genuine possibility. Climate change that could devastate the planet is undeniably happening. And for a variety of reasons that include a corrupted and manipulated media environment, democratic governments and other institutions that should be working to address these threats have failed to rise to the challenge.
The Bulletin believes that human beings can manage the dangers posed by the technology that humans create. Indeed, in the 1990s leaders in the United States and the Soviet Union took bold actions that made nuclear war markedly less likely—and as a result the Bulletin moved the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock the farthest it has been from midnight.
But given the inaction—and in too many cases counterproductive actions—of international leaders, the members of the Science and Security Board are compelled to declare a state of emergency that requires the immediate, focused, and unrelenting attention of the entire world. It is 100 seconds to midnight. The Clock continues to tick. Immediate action is required.

Moscow Mitch

Political Cartoon is by Milt Priggee at miltpriggee.com.

It's Hard To Tell

Friday, January 24, 2020

In The Dark Of Night

Second Poll Shows A Majority Wants Trump's Removal

The charts above reflect the results of a new survey from the Pew Research Center -- done between January 6th and 19th of a national sample of 12,638 adults, with a margin of error of 1.3 points.

It's looking more and more like the Senate Republicans are engaging in a cover-up for Donald Trump. They claim to see no new evidence, while refusing to hear witnesses or documents that would provide that new evidence. They have made up their minds to protect Trump.

But that is not what they American public wants. About 70% of the public says Trump has done unethical things while in office, and about 63% say Trump has done illegal things while in office. And they don't like it.

Yesterday, I brought you a CNN poll that showed 51% of the public wants the Senate to remove Trump from office. Now a new poll says the same. It is the survey done by the Pew Research Center, and it has a huge sample (about 12 times as large as the CNN sample).

A majority of Americans want Trump removed from office. The Republicans are not going to do that, but it's becoming clear that if the Republicans won't uphold the Constitution, the public will (by voting Trump out of office next November).

MAGA Rules

Political Cartoon is by Matt Wuerker at Politico.com.

Trump To Allow Pollution Of America's Watershed

Trump is still trying to erase all the good things President Obama did for the United States.

This time, it's Obama's effort to make sure Americans have clean and safe water.

Trump has moved to allow his corporate cronies in the fossil fuel, agriculture, and chemical industries to have an easier time dumping their poisons in the country's watershed. For him, another few dollars of corporate profit is more important that assuring Americans have safe water.

Here is part of how Coral Davenport describes Trump's scandalous move in The New York Times:

From Day 1 of his administration, President Trump vowed to repeal President Barack Obama’s “Waters of the United States” regulation, which had frustrated rural landowners. His new rule, which will be implemented in about 60 days, is the latest step in the Trump administration’s push to repeal or weaken nearly 100 environmental rules and laws, loosening or eliminating rules on climate change, clean air, chemical pollution, coal mining, oil drilling and endangered species protections.

Although Mr. Trump frequently speaks of his desire for the United States to have “crystal-clean water,” he has called his predecessor’s signature clean-water regulation “horrible,” “destructive” and “one of the worst examples of federal” overreach.

Although Mr. Trump frequently speaks of his desire for the United States to have “crystal-clean water,” he has called his predecessor’s signature clean-water regulation “horrible,” “destructive” and “one of the worst examples of federal” overreach.

Mr. Trump’s replacement, called the “Navigable Waters Protection Rule,” finishes the process. It not only rolls back key portions of the 2015 rule that had guaranteed protections under the 1972 Clean Water Act to certain wetlands and streams that run intermittently or run temporarily underground, but also relieves landowners of the need to seek permits that the Environmental Protection Agency had considered on a case-by-case basis before the Obama rule. . . .

The new water rule for the first time in decades allow landowners and property developers to dump pollutants such as pesticides and fertilizers directly into hundreds of thousands of waterways, and to destroy or fill in wetlands for construction projects.
“This will be the biggest loss of clean water protection the country has ever seen,” said Blan Holman, a lawyer specializing in federal water policy at the Southern Environmental Law Center. “This puts drinking water for millions of Americans at risk of contamination from unregulated pollution. This is not just undoing the Obama rule. This is stripping away protections that were put in place in the ’70s and ’80s that Americans have relied on for their health.”. . .

The Obama rule protected about 60 percent of the nation’s waterways, including large bodies of water such as the Chesapeake Bay, Mississippi River and Puget Sound, and smaller headwaters, wetlands, seasonal streams and streams that run temporarily underground. It limited the discharge of pollutants such as fertilizers, pesticides and industrial chemicals into those waters.

The new rule, written by the E.P.A. and the Army Corps of Engineers, will retain federal protections of large bodies of water, as well as larger rivers and streams that flow into them and wetlands that lie adjacent to them. But it removes protections for many other waters, including wetlands that are not adjacent to large bodies of water, some seasonal streams that flow for only a portion of the year, “ephemeral” streams that only flow after rainstorms, and groundwater.

Legal experts say that Mr. Trump’s replacement rule would go further than simply repealing and replacing the 2015 Obama rule — it would also eliminate protections to smaller headwaters that have been implemented for decades under the 1972 Clean Water Act.

“This is rolling back federal jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act further than it’s ever been before,” said Patrick Parenteau, a professor of environmental law at Vermont Law School. “Waters that have been protected for almost 50 years will no longer be protected under the Clean Water Act.”

That could open millions of acres of pristine wetlands to pollution or destruction, and allow chemicals and other pollutants to be discharged into smaller headland waters that eventually drain into larger water bodies, experts in water management said. Wetlands play key roles in filtering surface water and protecting against floods, while also providing wildlife habitat. . . .

The E.P.A.’s Scientific Advisory Board, a panel of 41 scientists responsible for evaluating the scientific integrity of the agency’s regulations, concluded that the new Trump water rule ignores science by “failing to acknowledge watershed systems.” They found “no scientific justification” for excluding certain bodies of water from protection under the new regulations, concluding that pollutants from those smaller and seasonal bodies of water can still have a significant impact on the health of larger water systems.


Political Cartoon is by Jimmy Margulies at jimmymargulies.com.

A Lousy Reason

Thursday, January 23, 2020

The Beliefs Of A REAL President

Biden, Warren, And Sanders Lead National Poll

The chart above reflects the results of the latest Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between January 19th and 21st of a national sample of 470 Democrats and Democratic leaners.

The poll shows that it's still really a three-way race for the nomination between Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders.

Puppets In The Dark

Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at claytoonz.com.

Workers Pay More & Corporations Pay Less Of U.S. Taxes

The chart above, from Business Insider, shows how Republican economic policy has benefitted corporations while hurting workers. In 1950 (a time of substantial growth and a growing middle class), workers paid only about 2% of federal tax income while corporations paid about 7%.

Thanks to Republican policies favoring the rich, that has now flipped. Workers now pay 7.8% of national income, while corporations pay only 0.9%.

Republicans said the money saved by corporations would trickle=down to the rest of America. That has not happened. Instead of paying workers more, the corporations are just buying their own stock (thus artificially inflating the value of that stock, allowing executives and stockholders to fatten their bank accounts).

Corporations are not paying their fair share of taxes, and too many high-profit corporations pay no taxes at all. We must fix this, and return to an economic policy fair to all Americans. This will not happen until the Republicans are voted out of power.

The Full List

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

Greta Speaks Truth To The Rich And Powerful At Davos

(This image of Greta Thunberg at Davos is from CNN.)

For the last few days, some of the richest and most powerful individuals in the world met in Davis, Switzerland. The occasion was the annual meeting called the World Economic Forum. Uncowed by their wealth and power, young climate activist Greta Thunberg delivered a dose of truth to them. Here is what she said:

One year ago, I came to Davos and told you that our house is on fire. I said I wanted you to panic. I’ve been warned that telling people to panic about the climate crisis is a very dangerous thing to do. But don’t worry. It’s fine. Trust me. I’ve done this before. And I can assure you: It doesn’t lead to anything. 
And for the record, when we children tell you to panic, we’re not telling you to go on like before. We’re not telling you to rely on technologies that don’t even exist today at scale and that science says perhaps never will. We are not telling you to keep talking about reaching net zero emissions or carbon neutrality by cheating and fiddling around with numbers. We’re not telling you to offset your emissions by just paying someone else to plant trees in places like Africa, while at the same time forests like the Amazon are being slaughtered at an infinitely higher rate. Planting trees is good, of course, but it’s nowhere near enough of what is needed, and it cannot replace real mitigation and rewilding nature. 
And let’s be clear: We don’t need a low-carbon economy. We don’t need to lower emissions. Our emissions have to stop, if we are to have a chance to stay below the 1.5-degree target. And until we have the technologies that at scale can put our emissions to minus, then we must forget about net zero. We need real zero, because distant net-zero emission targets will mean absolutely nothing if we just continue to ignore the carbon dioxide budget that applies for today, not distant future dates. If high emissions continue like now even for a few years, that remaining budget will soon be completely used up. 
The fact that the U.S.A. is leaving the Paris accord seemed to outrage and worry everyone. And it should. But the fact that we are all about to fail the commitments you signed up for in the Paris Agreement doesn’t seem to bother the people in power even the least. Any plan or policy of yours that doesn’t include radical emission cuts at the source starting today is completely insufficient for meeting the 1.5- or well below 2-degree commitments of the Paris Agreement. 
And again, this is not about right or left. We couldn’t care less about your party politics. From a sustainability perspective, the right, the left, as well as the center, have all failed. No political ideology or economic structure has been able to tackle the climate and environmental emergency and create a cohesive and sustainable world, because that world, in case you haven’t noticed, is currently on fire. 
You say children shouldn’t worry. You say, “Just leave this to us. We will fix this. We promise we won’t let you down. Don’t be so pessimistic.” And then nothing. Silence. Or something worse than silence: empty words and promises which give the impression that sufficient action is being taken. 
All the solutions are obviously not available within today’s societies, nor do we have the time to wait for new technological solutions to become available to start drastically reducing our emissions. So, of course, the transition isn’t going to be easy. It will be hard. And unless we start facing this now, together, with all cards on the table, we won’t be able to solve this in time. 
In the days running up to the 50th anniversary of the World Economic Forum, I joined a group of climate activists demanding that you, the world’s most powerful and influential business and political leaders, begin to take the action needed. We demand, at this year’s World Economic Forum, participants from all companies, banks, institutions and governments immediately halt all investments in fossil fuel exploration and extraction, immediately end all fossil fuel subsidies and immediately and completely divest from fossil fuels. We don’t want these things done by 2050 or 2030 or even 2021; we want this done now. 
It may seem like we are asking for a lot, and you will of course say that we are naive. But this is just the very minimum amount of effort that is needed to start the rapid sustainable transition. So, either you do this, or you’re going to have to explain to your children why you are giving up on the 1.5-degree target — giving up without even trying. 
Well, I’m here to tell you that, unlike you, my generation will not give up without a fight. The facts are clear, but they are still too uncomfortable for you to address. You just leave it, because you just think it’s too depressing and people will give up. But people will not give up. You are the ones who are giving up. Last week, I met with Polish coal miners who lost their jobs because their mine was closed. And even they had not given up. On the contrary, they seem to understand the fact that we need to change more than you do. 
I wonder: What will you tell your children was the reason to fail and leave them facing a climate chaos that you knowingly brought upon them? That it seemed so bad for the economy that we decided to resign the idea of securing future living conditions without even trying? 
Our house is still on fire. Your inaction is fueling the flames by the hour. And we are telling you to act as if you loved your children above all else. Thank you.


Political Cartoon is by Matt Davies in Newsday.

Experts Agree That Trump Lied About Economy

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The Truth About War

The Public Grades Trump (And The Grades Are Not Good)

The chart above is from the Morning Consult Poll. They questioned 1,996 registered voters between January 10th and 12th, and the poll has a margin of error of only 2 points.

They asked voters to grade. Trump on his performance in office. About 49% gave him a D or F, while only 38% gave him an A or B.

Dershowitz And Trump

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

Public Overwhelmingly Want Witnesses In Senate Trial

It looks like Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans are going to get what they want -- a cover-up instead of a fair trial that won't call any witnesses to testify before the Senate. That is not what the American public wants to see though.

About 69% of all adults (including 69% of Independents and 86% of Democrats) think the Senate should call witnesses. Even a plurality of Republicans (48%) agrees with that.

The Republicans, in their effort to cover-up for Donald Trump's misbehavior, are playing a dangerous game -- and it's one that could hurt them in the coming election. Americans want Trump removed by a 6 point margin (51% to 45%), but a much larger percentage wants to see a Senate trial that is fair to both sides.

These charts reflect the results of a new CNN / SSRS Poll -- done between January 16th and 19th of a national sample of 1,156 adults, with a 3.4 point margin of error.

GOP Liars

Political Cartoon is by Milt Priggee at miltpriggee.com.

Newest Poll Of Iowa Democrats

The chart above reflects the results of the latest Focus on Rural America Iowa Poll -- done between January 15th and 18th of 500 likely Democratic caucus attendees. It has a 4.4 point margin of error.

Under The Rug

Political Cartoon is by Dave Granlund at davegranlund.com.

Trump Continues To Set Records For Presidential Lying

From The Washington Post:

In 2017, Trump made 1,999 false or misleading claims. In 2018, he added 5,689 more, for a total of 7,688. And in 2019, he made 8,155 suspect claims.
In other words, in a single year, the president said more than the total number of false or misleading claims he had made in the previous two years. Put another way: He averaged six such claims a day in 2017, nearly 16 a day in 2018 and more than 22 a day in 2019.
As of Jan. 19, his 1,095th day in office, Trump had made 16,241 false or misleading claims. Only 366 days to go — at least in this term.

Puppet Master

Political Cartoon is by Jimmy Margulies at jimmymargulies.com.

They Love Him Because They ARE Him