Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Greedy Truth

Dems Generic Ballot Advantage In Average Of Polls

These charts are from RealClearPolitics. It shows the Democratic advantage in the generic ballot for Congress in all the latest polls. The polls' average shows an advantage of 8.2 points.


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

Should CEO Make More Than 1,000 Times A Worker's Pay ?

(Cartoon image is by Daryl Cagle at cagle.com.)

We know that thanks to the Republican "trickle-down" economic policy (the idea that what's good for the rich is good for everyone) this country is becoming a very unequal place. Since that policy was initiated in the 1980's, the income of the rich has risen dramatically while worker wages have remained stagnant (and even lost ground when inflation is considered). This has created a vast gap between the rich and the rest of America -- a gap as large as it was just prior to the Great Depression, and a gap that continues to grow.

While workers continue to struggle, corporate CEO's are making a killing. We had been estimating that they make hundreds of times more than the average worker in their company. We now learn that was an underestimate. They make over a thousand times more. Consider this from The Guardian:

The CEO of Marathon Petroleum, Gary Heminger, took home an astonishing 935 times more pay than his typical employee in 2017. In other words, one of Marathon’s gas station workers would have to toil more than nine centuries to make as much as Heminger grabbed in just one year.
Employees of at least five other US firms would have to work even longer – more than a millennium – to catch up with their top bosses. These companies include the auto parts maker Aptiv (CEO-worker pay ratio: 2,526 to 1), the temp agency Manpower (2,483 to 1), amusement park owner Six Flags (1,920 to 1), Del Monte Produce (1,465 to 1), and apparel maker VF (1,353 to 1). 
These revelations come thanks to a new federal regulation that requires publicly traded US corporations to disclose, for the first time ever, how much their chief executives are making compared with their median workers. The disclosures are just now starting to flow in. 
Up until this year, comparisons of CEO and worker pay have had to rely on the average take-homes of US workers overall – not the pay of workers at individual corporations. Those generalized figures helped us track the soaring trajectory of executive compensation at big US corporations, from 30 times average worker pay in the 1960s to over 300 times more recently. 
But headlines around those average figures did next to nothing to slow our CEO pay-hike express. Will the release of the ratios at individual corporations make any more of a difference?
Corporate America must surely think so. Ever since 2010, the year Congress plugged a ratio disclosure mandate into the Dodd-Frank financial reform act, corporate lobbyists have been scheming to delay and repeal that mandate’s implementation. But responsible investors and other activists rallied and kept the mandate in place. 
The new ratios offer a benchmark for corporate greed that exposes exactly which firms are sharing the wealth their employees create and which aren’t, knowledge we can use to impose consequences on the corporations doing the most to make the United States more unequal.
Congress should have acted to fix this. But they did just the opposite. They cut taxes radically for corporations and the rich -- a move that will increase CEO and management salaries while doing little to nothing for workers. And while the Republicans are busy giving more to corporations, they refuse to raise the minimum wage (which remains far below a livable wage).

Is this the kind of country you want to live in -- a country that gives a few enormous wealth while insuring that workers fall further behind every year? If not, then you need to vote the Republicans out of power this November. They have made it very clear they have no intention of changing their economic policy that favors the rich and punishes everyone else.


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

Trump Is Running Scared - Issues Tweet Full Of Lies

Donald Trump is running scared. He knows the Mueller investigation is closing in on him, and that the firings of Come and McCabe have backfired -- making him look like he is trying to obstruct justice. Now he has tweeted about Mueller -- trying to convince people that the Mueller investigation is unfair, and just a political attempt to hurt the Trump administration. The problem is that the tweet is full of inaccuracies. It's just another attempt by Trump to lie to cover his own butt.

here are 5 lies included in the tweet according to NBC News:

1. The probe started after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, who had testified before Congress two months earlier that his agency had been investigating allegations that Trump's 2016 campaign might have contacts with Russian entities. Mueller was appointed as special counsel by the No. 2 official in Trump’s Justice Department, Rod Rosenstein.

2. While Trump said there “was no crime,” the Mueller probe has charged 19 different individuals with crimes, including Trump’s 2016 campaign chairman (Paul Manafort) and 13 Russian nationals. In addition, five individuals have pleaded guilty, including Trump’s former national security adviser (Michael Flynn), a former top Trump campaign and transition official (Rick Gates) and a former Trump foreign-policy adviser (George Papadopoulos).

3. Although Trump says there was “no collusion,” that’s not exactly what Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee concluded. “What we said … is that we found no evidence of it,” Rep. Michael Conaway said on “Meet the Press” yesterday, explaining that saying “no evidence of collusion” is different than saying there was “no collusion.” Conaway also admitted that Democrats on the committee have a different opinion on collusion. “The collusion issue, we found no evidence of it. The Democrats think they have. They've not shared that with us,” he said.

4. While Trump said that the Russian investigation was based on “a fake dossier,” both Democrats and Republicans have admitted the original inquiry began with George Papadopoulos’ conversation with an Australian diplomat that Russia had dirt on Hillary Clinton. “The Papadopoulos information triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016 by FBI agent Peter Strzok,” February’s memo by Rep. Devin Nunes’ staff said.

5. And although Trump says the FISA wiretap of former Trump advisor Carter Page was surveillance of his campaign, the FISA court order to begin surveillance on Page took place after Page LEFT THE CAMPAIGN, the Washington Post writes.

Stormy Cloud

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

Solution, Scapegoat, And Sacrificial Lamb

Monday, March 19, 2018

Education Is Powerful

Our Parents Would NOT Recognize This Republican Party

(Cartoon image is by Joe Heller at hellertoon.com.)

What has happened to the Republican Party? That party once produced presidents like Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Eisenhower -- men that Americans could respect. That party once was a bastion of true conservative principles. It is no longer a party of either great leaders or solid principles. That party has changed radically, and would not be recognized by our parents and grandparents.

The Republican Party used to claim to be the party of fiscal responsibility. They wanted to hold down government spending, balance the budget, and keep the national debt at a reasonable level (if not altogether eliminated). Today's Republican Party respects none of that. They have increased spending and cut taxes (for the rich and corporations), and they have waged a seemingly endless war without providing a method to pay for it.

The result is that we will have a trillion dollar deficit this year, and will add a trillion dollars to the national debt for the next ten years. They have thrown conservative economic principles and fiscal responsibility out of the window. They are now the party of big spending and huge debt.

The Republican Party used to be staunch defenders of the FBI and our intelligence agencies. And they would spring to defend them at the slightest appearance of criticism. Even during the Watergate years, the Republicans were quick to defend the FBI.

That is no longer true. Now they have a president that, to defend himself from investigation, has viciously attacked the FBI and its leaders, accusing them of engaging in a conspiracy against him. And the Republican Party is backing his attacks on those agencies, and questioning the service of individuals who have given many years in service to this country. They are tearing down the agencies they once could be counted on to support.

The Republican Party once proudly called themselves the party of "family values".  And to defend those values, they attacked politicians who erred sexually and stood firm against social change. Now they have elected a president who is a serial adulterer, brags about sexually assaulting women, gleefully attacks women, minorities, immigrants, and anyone who disagrees with him. He is a man without values, but that is OK with Republicans who have tossed their family values under the bus to defend him.

The Republican Party once considered themselves the defenders of this country from the menace of Russia. They considered Russia to be the primary danger facing the United States. Now they have a president who is soft on Russia and its dictator (Putin). He refuses to criticize Russia or impose sanctions against them. And the Republican leaders defend his actions -- even though Russia has interfered in our elections, attacked our electrical power grids, and threatened us with a new generation of nuclear missiles. They are now appeasers -- willing to follow this president in knuckling under to the Russian threat.

The Republican Party once had leaders (Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan) who understood that military-style assault weapons had no place in civilian society. Now they have been bought by the NRA, and won't even support background checks for all gun buyers. American lives are not as important to them as NRA money and support.

I'm not sure at this point whether the Republican Party even has beliefs and values anymore. They no longer seem to respect our democratic values, our constitutional rights, our governmental institutions, or the need to compromise for the good of the country.

Not His Lawn

Political Cartoon is by Matt Davies in Newsday.

Public Wants To See A Democrat-Controlled Congress

I think Donald Trump frightens most Americans. They are worried about his constant lying, his attacks on the press, his inability to get along with our best allies, his weak stance toward Russia (and the attacks they have made on our democracy), his preference for corporations over people, and his threats of war against some other countries. And it has become obvious in the past few months that the Republican Congress will not rein in Trump. They are too busy trying to protect him.

That's why the public now prefers the 116th Congress, which will be determined by the November elections, be controlled by Democrats. They want a check on the worst impulses of Donald Trump, and they think they only way to get that is to elect more Democrats.

The public now prefers a Democrat-controlled Congress by a 10 point margin (50% to 40%). The Republicans are hoping to narrow (or eliminate) that margin before November. I don't think they'll be able to do that. In fact, it may grow even larger.

The chart above uses information in a new NBC News / Wall Street Journal Poll -- done between March 10th and 14th of a random national sample of 1,100 adults, with a margin of error of 2.95 points.

The Gift

Political Cartoon is by Adam Zyglis in The Buffalo News.

State Department "Is No Place For Toadies Or Ideologues"

One of the more troubling aspects of the Trump Administration is the way it has damaged the State Department (which is the primary way we reach out to other countries). Here is what veteran journalist Dan Rather has to say on this subject:

One of the tragic ironies of our time is that in an age when we need a strong State Department, one that's well respected, well led, and filled with brilliant and committed public servants, we have instead seen chaos, rock-bottom morale, an epidemic of vacancies, and the dereliction of duty at the top. 
The brief and confused tenure of Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State may well go down as the most inauspicious and damaging terms of anyone to hold the office. It was a combination of his instincts and those of his boss, President Trump. But there are very worrisome signs surrounding his replacement. 
We should have learned during the George W. Bush era that foreign policy led by the Pentagon alone is a recipe for failure. It was a lesson that most of our presidents knew well, and led accordingly. The State Department has been one of the most cherished and respected arms of American strength on the world stage. It has not been perfect, but its track record over time has been pretty darn good. 
Today, the challenges are plentiful, serious, and complex. It isn't the binary world of the Cold War (although Russia is resurgent) or amorphous terrorism (although that remains a potent concern) or the rise of China (something Trump's policies are exacerbating) or our moral standing (something Trump's policies are shattering). It's also new challenges, first and foremost climate change which could wreak more havoc over time than any single item (or group of items) on the list above. And yet in the new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, President Trump has picked a climate denier! That alone is a scandal. 
Let's be clear. American leadership and our standing on the world stage is not preordained. It is not bestowed by the Almighty. It is dependent on hard work and competence. It is done in meeting rooms, through non-governmental organizations, and the elusive art of statecraft. It is hard work just to keep the status quo, let alone to promote American interests. 
We deserve a State Department that is clear-eyed and responsive to the real world. It is no place for toadies or ideologues. This is a battle for America's soul, and her destiny. Every American, especially those in elected office, should demand better and hold the Trump Administration accountable.

Justifiable ?

Political Cartoon is by Tom Tales in The Washington Post.

I Do Not Like 45

Sunday, March 18, 2018

It's A Requirement

Average Presidential Job Approval After 421 Days In Office

The information for this chart comes from fivethirtyeight.com.

Walk-Out / Walk-In

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

Trump Is Alienating The Countries We Like The Best

The chart above displays a very troubling thing. It shows the countries viewed most favorably by the citizens of the United States, and along with that, what the citizens of those countries think about U.S. leadership.

Under previous presidents, those countries looked to the United States for leadership -- believing the United States would act for the benefit of all nations -- being a leader for democracy and for human rights around the world. Sadly that is no longer true.

Note that only one of those ten countries currently has a majority viewing U.S. leadership favorably -- Israel. That's understandable, since the United States under Trump has abandoned a nonpartisan effort to establish peace in the Mideast. Trump has made it very clear that the U.S. now supports the Israeli stealing of Palestinian land, and no longer can operate as a fair and impartial guide to negotiations between Israel and Palestine.

All of the other nine countries have less than 40% approval of U.S. leadership under Donald Trump. While coddling Russia, Trump has shown little respect for those countries and their leaders. That's troubling because these are the main countries we depend upon for help in the world. Trump is driving away our best allies and isolating the United States on the world stage.

The chart uses information in a recent Gallup Poll -- done between February 1st and 10th of a random national sample of 1,044 adults, with a four point margin of error. The view from the other countries is from a world poll conducted by Gallup.

NRA Officials

Political Cartoon is by Monte Wolverton at cagle.com.

Trump Exposes Himself As Mean, Petty, And Vindictive

(Caricature of a vicious Donald Trump is by DonkeyHotey.)

What if you had worked for a company for 20 years, and your peers considered you to be an honest and hard worker, but you got a new boss that hated you. He hated you because you knew he had mistreated your fellow workers and fired them without cause. You can't win a battle with him because he's the CEO and you're just a worker, so you announce your retirement. But one day before your retirement takes effect, that boss fires you -- and since he fired you, you will not receive the retirement pension that you worked for more than 20 years. Would you think that was fair?

Well, that is exactly what Donald Trump did to former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe. The actual firing was done by Trump personal hitman, Jeff Sessions, but make no mistake -- this firing has Trump's dirty fingerprints all over it. Trump has shown Americans just how mean, petty, and vindictive he really is by not letting McCabe retire with his pension. And he has used the office of the presidency to do it. It was a shameful act, and one that should anger all decent and hard-working citizens of this country.

All of that would be bad enough, but Trump then compounded his despicable behavior by celebrating it on Twitter. Taking an honorable man's pension for political purposes is something Trump is proud of --

Trump accused McCabe of lying to investigators. That was nonsense. Here is McCabe's statement in defense after the outrageous firing:

I have been an FBI Special Agent for over 21 years. I spent half of that time investigating Russian Organized Crime as a street agent and Supervisor in New York City. I have spent the second half of my career focusing on national security issues and protecting this country from terrorism. I served in some of the most challenging, demanding investigative and leadership roles in the FBI. And I was privileged to serve as Deputy Director during a particularly tough time.
For the last year and a half, my family and I have been the targets of an unrelenting assault on our reputation and my service to this country. Articles too numerous to count have leveled every sort of false, defamatory and degrading allegation against us. The President’s tweets have amplified and exacerbated it all. He called for my firing. He called for me to be stripped of my pension after more than 20 years of service. And all along we have said nothing, never wanting to distract from the mission of the FBI by addressing the lies told and repeated about us.
No more.
The investigation by the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) has to be understood in the context of the attacks on my credibility. The investigation flows from my attempt to explain the FBI’s involvement and my supervision of investigations involving Hillary Clinton. I was being portrayed in the media over and over as a political partisan, accused of closing down investigations under political pressure. The FBI was portrayed as caving under that pressure, and making decisions for political rather than law enforcement purposes. Nothing was further from the truth. In fact, this entire investigation stems from my efforts, fully authorized under FBI rules, to set the record straight on behalf of the Bureau, and to make clear that we were continuing an investigation that people in DOJ opposed.
The OIG investigation has focused on information I chose to share with a reporter through my public affairs officer and a legal counselor. As Deputy Director, I was one of only a few people who had the authority to do that. It was not a secret, it took place over several days, and others, including the Director, were aware of the interaction with the reporter. It was the type of exchange with the media that the Deputy Director oversees several times per week. In fact, it was the same type of work that I continued to do under Director Wray, at his request. The investigation subsequently focused on who I talked to, when I talked to them, and so forth. During these inquiries, I answered questions truthfully and as accurately as I could amidst the chaos that surrounded me. And when I thought my answers were misunderstood, I contacted investigators to correct them.
But looking at that in isolation completely misses the big picture. The big picture is a tale of what can happen when law enforcement is politicized, public servants are attacked, and people who are supposed to cherish and protect our institutions become instruments for damaging those institutions and people.
Here is the reality: I am being singled out and treated this way because of the role I played, the actions I took, and the events I witnessed in the aftermath of the firing of James Comey. The release of this report was accelerated only after my testimony to the House Intelligence Committee revealed that I would corroborate former Director Comey’s accounts of his discussions with the President. The OIG’s focus on me and this report became a part of an unprecedented effort by the Administration, driven by the President himself, to remove me from my position, destroy my reputation, and possibly strip me of a pension that I worked 21 years to earn. The accelerated release of the report, and the punitive actions taken in response, make sense only when viewed through this lens. Thursday’s comments from the White House are just the latest example of this.
This attack on my credibility is one part of a larger effort not just to slander me personally, but to taint the FBI, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals more generally. It is part of this Administration’s ongoing war on the FBI and the efforts of the Special Counsel investigation, which continue to this day. Their persistence in this campaign only highlights the importance of the Special Counsel’s work.
I have always prided myself on serving my country with distinction and integrity, and I always encouraged those around me to do the same. Just ask them. To have my career end in this way, and to be accused of lacking candor when at worst I was distracted in the midst of chaotic events, is incredibly disappointing and unfair. But it will not erase the important work I was privileged to be a part of, the results of which will in the end be revealed for the country to see.
I have unfailing faith in the men and women of the FBI and I am confident that their efforts to seek justice will not be deterred.

Russian "Take-Out"

Political Cartoon is by Dave Granlund at davegranlund.com.

Ignorance / Knowledge

Saturday, March 17, 2018


Teachers Say No To Trump's Wish To Arm Them

Right after the Parkland (Florida) shooting that killed 17 people, Donald Trump held a White House meeting. In that meeting he acted like he was listening to those with solutions to gun violence, and promised to be the first president to actually take needed action. Unfortunately, it was just political theater (public relations). He didn't mean it.

The only thing he wants to do is to arm teachers and other school employees with firearms, which incidentally is the only "solution" supported by the NRA. It's a silly and dangerous idea that's not supported by the general public (or most members of Congress). Now we learn that it's not supported by teachers either.

About 73% of k-12 teachers oppose the idea of arming teachers, 71% say it would not be effective in stopping violence, and 58% say it would make schools more dangerous -- not safer.

I agree with the teachers. There are many constitutional actions we could take to reduce gun violence in this country -- but arming teachers is NOT one of them. It's an idea that needs to be quashed right now.

The chart above is from the Gallup Poll. They queried 497 k-12 teachers nationwide between March 5th and 12th. The survey has a 7 point margin of error.

Easy To Do

Political Cartoon is by Mike Smith in the Las Vegas Sun.

Public Disagrees With Trump About Mueller And Russia

Donald Trump has done his best to convince Americans that his campaign did not collude with Russia in the 2016 campaign, and that Robert Mueller is just conducting an unfair "witch hunt". But most Americans aren't buying his "alternate facts" (lies).

It turns out that 58% think the Trump campaign did have improper contact with Russians during the 2016 campaign. And 61% think Robert Mueller is conducting a fair and impartial investigation. Those are not good numbers for Trump. They show that a majority of Americans are likely to believe Mueller if he finds wrongdoing by Trump (and I believe he will find that).

About 55% also think Trump will not seriously try to stop Russian interference in the 2018 campaign.

These charts were made with information from a new Pew Research Center survey -- done between March 7th and 14th of a random national sample of 1,466 adults, with a 3 point margin of error.


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

It Was Race (Not Economics) That Helped Trump Win

The Nation has an excellent article, written by Sean McElwee and Jason McDaniel, on what propelled Donald Trump to his win in the 2016 election. The most common reason given by most political pundits is that it was economics -- because Trump promised jobs. That was wrong. The article concerns a new study that exposes a very troubling thing about the election.

Instead of economics, the biggest thing that drew white voters to support Trump was his racist and anti-immigrant stances. The study further states that this has resulted in a realignment of the two political parties -- with anti-racist and anti-bigotry people moving to the Democratic Party, and racist and bigoted individuals moving to the Republican Party. That defines each party much more than economic policy.

There are those who believe that this nation has nearly solved it's problem with racism. That is far from the truth. If a presidential candidate can win enough votes to tip the scales of the Electoral College, then racism is still a big problem in this country (and the same could be said of other forms of bigotry).

I post just a small part of the article below, but I encourage you to read the whole article. It would be worth your time. McElwee and McDaniel write:

Was Donald Trump elected because of racism or economic anxiety? Few questions about the 2016 election have generated more analysis. As we’ve previously written, it is clear racism propelled Trumpto the Republican nomination. But how did the racial resentment that powered Trump’s ascent differ from the support for Republican candidates in prior elections? And what was the relative importance of economic peril to voting in 2016 compared to several different types of racism and racial animus exhibited by voters?
The answers can be found in the comprehensive American National Election Studies pre- and post-election survey of over 4,000 respondents, which we analyzed to explore the impact of racism and economic peril on 2016 voting behavior. The results are clear, and move a long way towards settling this debate.
Our analysis shows Trump accelerated a realignment in the electorate around racism, across several different measures of racial animus—and that it helped him win. By contrast, we found little evidence to suggest individual economic distress benefited Trump. The American political system is sorting so that racial progressivism and economic progressivism are aligned in the Democratic Party and racial conservatism and economic conservatism are aligned in the Republican Party. . . .
In our models, racial attitudes towards blacks and immigration are the key factors associated with support for Trump. The way that these variables impact Trump support can be seen in the charts below. Both racial resentment and black influence animosity are significant predictors of Trump support among white respondents, independent of partisanship, ideology, education levels, and the other factors included in the model. . . .

The effect of immigration attitudes for white people is even stronger than anti-black attitudes. . . .
Our results also indicate that economic peril was not a significant predictor of voting for Trump once either racial attitudes or immigration attitudes are included in the models. As shown in the chart below, Trump vote probability for an average white person does not change regardless of whether they express high or low levels of economic insecurity.
This result is markedly different in comparison to the 2012 election, when higher levels of economic anxiety was associated with lower levels of support for Mitt Romney among the average white person. . . .
It’s likely that political elites (party leaders, activists, media organizations) will continue on the current path and the issue of identity will fully map onto the current political divides. Economic conservatism and white nationalism will become more fully intertwined for Republicans, as will racial and economic equity for Democrats. Republicans have shown little interest in attempting to hold back Trump’s openly racist rhetoric. On the other side, few Democrats have proposed abandoning civil rights (and those who have metintense backlash). Democrats may press forward with an economic, racial and gender progressive agenda, while Republicans continue to tie economic conservatism to white identity politics.

The Pot At The End Of The Rainbow

Political Cartoon is by Dave Granlund at davegranlund.com.

Giving You The Corporate View

Friday, March 16, 2018

Nine Would Be Enough

This Blog Is 12 Years Old Today

On March 16th of 2006, I wrote my first post on this blog. That means that today marks the 12th blogiversary for jobsanger. During that time, I have posted over 28,400 times and the blog has received more than 6.6 million page views. That's a far cry from the early days when I was thrilled to see 20 people had read me on a single day.

I want to thank the readers of this blog -- both those who comment from time to time and those who don't. I sincerely appreciate your readership. You keep me energized and wanting to continue.

I still enjoy writing this blog -- on both the good days and the bad days. And I plan to keep on going. I look forward to the blog becoming a teenager next year.

The Cabinet Trump Wants

Political Cartoon is by Robert Ariail in The State.

Trump Was Violating Russian Sanctions While Campaigning

(This caricature of Donald Trump is by DonkeyHotey.)

Although Trump has denied it, we know that his organization has received loans from Russia. This has been verified by both of his sons. And he may even be involved in money laundering for Russian oligarchs. Now we learn he may have violated U.S. sanctions on Russia.

For a long time, Trump has wanted to build a hotel in Moscow. To do that, he needed two things -- money and Putin's permission. Now we learn that since American banks wouldn't loan him the money, Trump's organization was negotiating a huge loan from a Russian bank. That bank was VTB Bank, and Felix Later (an associate of both Trump and Putin) says a line of credit had been arranged for Trump through that bank.

Those negotiations were going on in 2016, while Trump was engaged in a campaign to become president. Normally, negotiating with a foreign bank for business purposes wouldn't be a problem, but VTB Bank is different. It's different because that bank is one of the Russian businesses sanctioned by the United States government. It would be a violation of U.S. law to do business with VTB Bank.

That hotel was not built. Was it not built because Trump realized he was being thoroughly vetted by American reporters and he didn't want them to find out he was attempting to violate the sanctions on Russia? Or did Putin fail to give approval for the hotel because he didn't want a scandal to hurt his favorite candidate's chances to become president? We don't know.

But we do know now that Trump's organization (which he still has ties with) was trying to violate the U.S. sanctions against Russia -- and was doing that for his own greedy purposes. He was willing to violate U.S. law to make himself richer.

Republicans will probably claim that no law was broken since the hotel was not built (and therefore no money changed hands between Trump and VTB Bank). I don't buy that. Failure doesn't excuse him from attempting to violate the law -- and just negotiating with that bank while it was under sanctions may well be a violation. Either way, Trump has shown he has no respect for U.S. law.

This fool needs to be impeached -- NOW!

The Wave

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

Donald Trump Has Ignored The Wishes Of The Public

Since the horrible tragedy in a Parkland High School in Florida, the debate on gun violence (and how to keep it out of our schools) is raging again. The chart above is from a new Gallup Poll -- done between March 5th and 11th of a random national sample of 1,515 adults, with a 3 point margin of error.

The chart shows what a majority of Americans would like to see done (and think would be effective) to lower the incidence of gun violence. They want the holes in the background check law closed (92%), the age for buying guns raised to 21 (68%), and to have assault-style weapons banned (56%). The suggestion to arm teachers and other school employees did not get majority support. Only 42% supported that.

I would also like to point out that even a majority of Republicans supported closing the holes in the background check law (86%) and raising the age to 21 for buying a gun (53%). There can be no excuse for not doing these two things since Republicans, Democrats, and the general public all agree it should be done.

Unfortunately, they won't be done. They won't be done because Donald Trump and his Republican cohorts in Congress don't want it done. They receive their marching orders from the NRA (in the form of campaign support and donations), and they have made the decision that keeping the NRA happy is more important than saving the lives of thousands of American citizens.

When Trump unveiled his plan, he included only one of the things above -- the only one that did not have the support of a majority of Americans. He wants to arm teachers. That also happens to be the only one the NRA supports.

It is shameful for our elected representatives to ignore the wishes of the American public while bending to the will of the NRA -- but that is the situation we find ourselves in. That must be changed, and the only way to do that is to vote the Republicans out of power.

Tightrope Walk

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

Donald Trump Is "Dimmer Than A 5-Watt Bulb"

(Illustration is by Luci Gutierrez in The New Yorker.)

Donald Trump has bragged repeatedly about having a very high IQ. His rampant narcissism demands that he try to get people to believe that. But people who have to tell you they are smart usually aren't, and that is true of Trump. In fact, he may well be the dumbest person ever to live in the White House.

Steve Chapman of the Chicago Tribune tells it like it is -- that Trump is really not very smart. Here's some of what he has written:

Donald Trump has many serious flaws, including incorrigible dishonesty, rampant narcissism, contempt for women and a fashion sense that makes him think that hairstyle of his is flattering. But nothing compares to his most prominent, crippling and incurable defect: He’s dimmer than a 5-watt bulb.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was reported to have called the president a “moron” — emphasizing that term with an adjective I can’t repeat here. Forced to hold a news conference to praise the president’s intelligence, Tillerson was too honest to deny what he had said.
The late William T. Kelley, who taught Trump at the University of Pennsylvania, said, “Donald Trump was the dumbest goddamn student I ever had.” Tony Schwartz, the ghostwriter of “The Art of the Deal,” says Trump had “a stunning level of superficial knowledge and plain ignorance.”. . .
He’s just not bright enough to make connections between his conduct and its consequences. Trump’s travel ban has lost repeatedly in court because he has made clear he has an unconstitutional goal: shutting out Muslims because of their religion. If he had kept quiet, he might have gotten his way.
The evidence of his dimwittedness flows as continuously and voluminously as the Mississippi River. His tweets are studded with misspellings, random capitalizations and mystifying quotation marks.
He taps out tweets that flagrantly contradict what he tweeted when Barack Obama was president, making himself look ridiculous. When he holds forth on policy issues, it’s excruciatingly apparent he has no idea what he’s talking about.
Trump relies on a vocabulary the size of a second-grader’s. To combat opioid abuse among teens, he favors “telling them, ‘No good, really bad for you in every way.’ ” Those paper towels he tossed to a crowd in Puerto Rico were “very good towels.” He wanted to call the tax reform bill “the Cut Cut Cut Act.”
He pretends to be a master negotiator, but he has failed to get the Republican Congress to repeal Obamacare, enact protections for immigrants brought here illegally as children, and fund his border wall.
Trump tries to conceal his intellectual deficiency by insisting how smart he is. “I went to an Ivy League college,” he said last month. “I’m a very intelligent person.” He has to make such affirmations because all the evidence indicates his cranium contains an airless void. . . .
I’m betting Trump will never submit to any process that would document his actual intelligence for the public to see. He’s dumb. But not that dumb.

Never Again

Political Cartoon is by Bill Day in FloridaPolitics.com.


Thursday, March 15, 2018

He Was Very Special

Is Nancy Pelosi Really A Problem For Democrats ?

I'm not surprised that the Republicans are trying to demonize Rep. Nancy Pelosi. She used to be the Speaker, and Republicans want to convince Americans that somehow she would be terrible for the nation if the Democrats regain the House majority and she were to again become Speaker. That's to be expected, and Democrats return the favor by doing their best to demonize Paul Ryan (the current Republican Speaker).

But I'm hearing more and more from Democrats (mainly those in the party's left wing) that Pelosi is somehow hurting the party and should be replaced if Democrats regain the majority. Is that true? Is Pelosi a drag on the Democratic ticket this year?

For an answer I went to the new Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between March 10th and 13th of a national sample of 1,500 adults, with a margin of error of 3.1 points.

The charts show that Pelosi is no more unpopular with all adults and with Independents than Paul Ryan is, and both are equally popular within their own parties. If Pelosi is a drag on the Democratic ticket, then Ryan is equally a drag on the Republican ticket. And both are more popular than their counterparts in the Senate.

The upshot of this is that those who would vote against a Democrat because of Pelosi is probably a Republican, and wouldn't vote for a Democrat no matter who the prospective Speaker could be. This election is not about Pelosi or Ryan. It is about the direction that Trump and the Republicans are taking this country.

I can understand that the party's leftists would like to see a leftist as Speaker. I wouldn't mind seeing that myself. But the attacks on Pelosi coming from members of her own party are out-of-place at this time. The only important thing right now is for Democrats to unite and unseat as many Republicans as possible -- for the good of the country.

Nancy Pelosi is not the devil incarnate. She actually did a credible job the last time she was Speaker (and was largely responsible for shepherding Obamacare through the House).

If the Democrats elected to the House want to replace Pelosi next January, I don't have a problem with that. If they want to make her Speaker again, I don't mind that either. She has been a loyal Democrat for a long time. But either way, this is not the time to be squabbling over her. This is the time to unite to create a blue wave this November.