Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A Free Press Is Essential

Health Hazard

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

Trump Doesn't Care About The Health Of Americans

It has become obvious that Donald Trump simply does not care about the health of most Americans. He is acting, or at least planning actions, that will hurt the health of many Americans.

Perhaps the most obvious is his desire to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). He says he will replace it with something better, but so far he has not revealed any plan at all -- and neither have his Republican cohorts in Congress.

That repeal will cost millions of Americans their health insurance -- possibly more than 20 million people. Those people will be left with no way to pay for needed hospitalization, or even the preventative care which could save their lives.

And it's not just the poor and working classes which will suffer. The repeal will cause disfunction in the insurance industry, causing premium costs to rise (which could make insurance too expensive for even some middle class families).

But it's not just Obamacare repeal that shows Trump doesn't care about the health of American families. He has appointed an anti-EPA person to head that agency, and now is planning two executive orders that will undo the environmental protections put in place by the Obama administration. This means we will have dirtier water and air (so corporate polluters can maximize their already record-breaking profits), and that will affect the health of all Americans.

And if that wasn't enough, Trump has now given a boost to those who oppose the vaccination of American children. He has said he believes that vaccinations cause autism -- even though there is absolutely NO scientific evidence to show that. The only study claiming that, and which is still quoted by the anti-vax forces has been thoroughly discredited for be unscientific and fraudulent.

Having the president support their cause will give credibility to the anti-vaxxers, and could create many more people who refuse to vaccinate their children. Public health officials say at least 90% to 95% of children must be vaccinated to prevent disease outbreaks (which could put lives in danger -- especially those of children too young to have been vaccinated).

Here in Texas, the anti-vax movement is fairly strong and growing stronger. In just a 12-year period (from 2003 to 2015), the number of unvaccinated children rose from 2,314 to 44,716 (more than 1900%). Some private schools have as many as 40% of their students unvaccinated, and the state as a whole is in danger of falling below the 90%-95% safety threshold.

But it's not just Texas. With the president giving credence to this pseudo-science, other states may soon find the anti-vax movement also reaching danger levels. With this nonsense, and his political actions, Donald Trump is showing that he doesn't care about the health of American citizens -- and by the end of his term, we will be living in a nation that's much more hazardous to the health of ordinary Americans.

(NOTE -- The photo above of Donald Trump is from

Tweeter At The Wheel

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

Historians Rate The U.S. Presidents From Best To Worst

C-SPAN devised a survey of what historians thought of all the American presidents, and used those results to rate the presidents from best to worst. A perfect score would have been 1000. Here is the methodology they used:

C-SPAN's academic advisors devised a survey in which participants used a one ("not effective") to ten ("very effective") scale to rate each president on ten qualities of presidential leadership: "Public Persuasion," "Crisis Leadership," "Economic Management," "Moral Authority," "International Relations," "Administrative Skills," "Relations with Congress," "Vision/Setting An Agenda," "Pursued Equal Justice for All," and "Performance Within the Context of His Times."
Surveys were distributed to historians and other professional observers of the presidency, drawn from a database of C-SPAN's programming, augmented by suggestions from the academic advisors. Ninety-one agreed to participate. Participants were guaranteed that individual survey results remain confidential. Survey responses were tabulated by averaging all responses in a given category for each president. Each of the ten categories was given equal weighting in arriving at a president's total score.

NOTE -- Since his term has just started, Donald Trump was not included in the survey. Personally, I have little doubt that, once his term is over, Trump will easily supplant Buchanan as the worst president this country has ever had.


Political Cartoon is by Nick Anderson in the Houston Chronicle.

Trump May Respect Putin But The American Public Doesn't

Donald Trump has made it perfectly clear that he respects Vladimir Putin and admires his strongman leadership of Russia. But on this, as with many other things (raising minimum wage, building border wall, banning muslims, repealing Obamacare, protecting the environment, etc.), Trump is out-of-step with the wishes and opinions of the American public. And on this issue, he is way-out-of-step.

Only about 22% of Americans have a favorable opinion of Putin, while a whopping 72% have an unfavorable opinion of him. Those are slightly worse numbers than Americans have for the country of Russia (28% favorable and 70% unfavorable).

You may note that the chart on Putin has risen slightly recently. That's because some of the Republican base is now following the lead of their president. Putin's favorability among Republicans has risen from 12% in 2015 to 32% in 2017.

These charts are from a recent Gallup Poll -- done between February 1st and 5th of a random national sample of 1,035 adults, with a margin of error of 4 points.

Sad Situation

Political Cartoon is by Signe Wilkinson in The Philadelphia Daily News.

Trump Voters Bought A Litany Of Lies

The following post is from the Facebook page of former Labor Secretary Robert Reich:

You might want to send this to anyone in your family, or anyone you know, who voted for Trump. (Thanks to Rosa Figueroa who posted this in response to one of my posts yesterday.) 
1. He called Hillary Clinton a crook.
You bought it.
Then he paid $25 million to settle a fraud lawsuit.
2. He said he'd release his tax returns, eventually.
You bought it.
He hasn't, and says he never will.
3. He said he'd divest himself from his financial empire, to avoid any conflicts of interest.
You bought it.
He is still heavily involved in his businesses, manipulates the stock market on a daily basis, and has more conflicts of interest than can even be counted.
4. He said Clinton was in the pockets of Goldman Sachs, and would do whatever they said.
You bought it.
He then proceeded to put half a dozen Goldman Sachs executives in positions of power in his administration.
5. He said he'd surround himself with all the best and smartest people.
You bought it.
He nominated theocratic loon Mike Pence for Vice President. A white supremacist named Steve Bannon is his most trusted confidant. Dr. Ben Carson, the world's greatest idiot savant brain surgeon, is in charge of HUD. Russian quisling Rex Tillerson is Secretary of State.
6. He said he'd be his own man, beholden to no one.
You bought it.
He then appointed Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, whose only "qualifications" were the massive amounts of cash she donated to his campaign.
7. He said he would "drain the swamp" of Washington insiders.
You bought it.
He then admitted that was just a corny slogan he said to fire up the rubes during the rallies, and that he didn't mean it.
8. He said he knew more about strategy and terrorism than the Generals did.
You bought it.
He promptly gave the green light to a disastrous raid in Yemen- even though all his Generals said it would be a terrible idea. This raid resulted in the deaths of a Navy SEAL, an 8-year old American girl, and numerous civilians. The actual target of the raid escaped, and no useful intel was gained.
9. He said Hillary Clinton couldn't be counted on in times of crisis.
You bought it.
He didn't even bother overseeing that raid in Yemen; and instead spent the time hate-tweeting the New York Times, and sleeping.
10. He called CNN, the Washington Post and the New York Times "fake news" and said they were his enemy.
You bought it.
He now gets all his information from Breitbart, Gateway Pundit, and InfoWars.
11. He called Barack Obama "the vacationer-in-Chief" and accused him of playing more rounds of golf than Tiger Woods. He promised to never be the kind of president who took cushy vacations on the taxpayer's dime, not when there was so much important work to be done.
You bought it.
He took his first vacation after 11 days in office.
On the taxpayer's dime.
And went golfing.
And that's just the first month.

Winning ?

Political Cartoon is by Mike Stanfill at

Lies Don't Justify Anything

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

More GOP Hypocrisy

Fine-Tuned Machine

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

Public Still Has A Low Opinion Of Donald Trump

The chart above reflects the views of the public on Donald Trump in the latest Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between February 12th and 14th of a random national sample of 1,500 adults (including 1,283 registered voters), with a margin of error of 3.1 points.

Trump does score well in two of the ten areas. He is viewed as sincere by a 20 point margin (meaning he says what he believes). This is rather sad, because what he says is hateful, bigoted, and mostly lies. He is also viewed as a strong leader by a 9 point margin. I can't agree with that. A strong leader wouldn't have a White House that is in chaos.

He scored negatively on the other eight qualities. People see him as unlikable (by a 6 point margin), not caring about people like them (13 point margin), dishonest (16 point margin), unqualified to be president (13 point margin), lacking enough experience to be president (19 point margin), lacking the temperament to be president (20 point margin), will get us into a new war (23 point margin), and uses Twitter inappropriately (35 point margin).

Trump has been president for a month now, and the public's opinion of him has not improved at all. He is now, and probably will remain, the most unpopular of any modern president -- even more unpopular than George W. Bush.

Enemies Of The People

Political Cartoon is by Rainer Hachfeld at

Texas Bucks The National Trend (But Only By A Slim Margin)

The charts above are from The Texas Tribune. They reflect the results of the latest University of Texas / Texas Tribune Poll -- done between February 3rd and 10th of a random sample of 1,200 registered voters in Texas, and has a margin of error of 2.83 points.

Texas is one of the reddest of the 50 states, and voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 election by a 9 point margin (52% to 43%). That's why I was pleasantly surprised at the results of this poll.

Texas does buck the trend of most national polls, which show most people disapproving of the job Trump is doing as president. But not by much. While 46% of Texans approve of the job Trump is doing, about 44% disapprove -- a tiny 2 point margin.

And when Texas are asked their opinion of Trump, those who disapprove actually have a slight advantage (45% approve to 46% disapprove). But that is a tiny 1 point margin, and like the job approval percentages, is within the polls margin of error.

The poll shows Texans are split on Trump. Are they having some buyer's remorse?

Pluralities also believe Trump doesn't have the temperament to be president (48%) and is dishonest (50%).

These numbers should worry Trump and his supporters. If he doesn't have big support in bright red Texas, then he is in trouble.

On History's Garbage Heap

Political Cartoon is by Jos Colligson at

The Countries Americans Like Best And Least

I just thought this poll was interesting. It is from a recent Gallup Poll -- done between February 1st and 5th of a random national sample of 1,035 adults, with a margin of error of 4 points.

It shows the countries that the American public has a favorable rating of, and the ones with the least favorability. Note that two countries that Donald Trump is very favorable towards (probably because he has business interests in them) are not viewed favorably by most people in the U.S. -- Saudi Arabia (with only 31% favorable) and Russia (with only 28% favorable).

Kellyanne's Future

Political Cartoon is by R.J. Matson in Roll Call.

Trump's Style Has Created A White House In Chaos

The image above and the excerpts below are from an op-ed (written by Annie Linskey) in The Boston Globe:

Donald Trump rode into the White House on a promise that he’d be a strong leader who could run the government with the efficiency of a CEO. He’d hire “the best people” and manage the country with the same success that he has had running his business empire. 
The reality has been much, much different.
Management experts from across the country view Trump’s tumultuous style in the White House as deeply troubling, unlikely to produce the type of helpful internal team debate that can solve difficult problems and well outside the norms of a coherent management philosophy.
“I have yet to meet an executive who says management by chaos and yelling and berating constituencies is an effective way to run a business,” said Ethan Burris, an associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business.
In just one month, the Trump administration has seen a key Cabinet secretary sunk by bipartisan opposition, a national security adviser asked to resign after misleading the vice president and potentially lying to the FBI, and a refugee and immigration travel ban hastily written then halted by courts. Trump attempted to gain the upper hand with a rambling news conference in the East Room of the White House, where he made seemingly off-handed remarks about sinking a Russian warship and mused on the destructive power of a nuclear holocaust.
What’s confounding to close watchers of Washington politics is that each of the major disasters encountered by the administration has been completely avoidable, yet Trump’s decision-making process led him down obviously fraught paths on multiple occasions, raising very real questions about whether anyone is able to say “no” to this president and how the West Wing will be equipped to react to the many unpredictable parts of the job. 
“He’s not exactly cultivating a culture where people are dissenting, where they are giving points of view that are different from what he wants to hear,” said Burris.
The president’s impulsiveness and reliance on his own gut reactions don’t appear to have any real check within the system he’s created. He continues to fire off bizarre tweets, including one that he deleted and then reposted Friday evening where he labeled the news media as “the enemy of the American people.”. . . 
There’s little to suggest he is right or that the situation will change: None of the power centers in the White House has demonstrated an ability to have a deliberate, tempering effect on Trump. And, up until this point, no one knows how the West Wing will react to the many unpredictable parts of the job. . . .
Trump himself described his White House as a “fine-tuned machine.” But people familiar with the West Wing workings disagree and describe a clutch of diverse personalities jockeying for influence — a description that the White House denies. 
One key power center is allied with Chief of Staff Reince Priebus. The former head of the Republican National Committee, Priebus brought several of his staffers with him, including Katie Walsh, now deputy White House chief of staff. Trump press secretary Sean Spicer also held key RNC posts. 
Then there’s the group led by Steve Bannon, who came after running Breitbart News and is also close with policy director Stephen Miller and his former boss Jeff Sessions, now the attorney general. Rick Dearborn, who served as chief of staff to Sessions, has also joined the White House team. 
The tumultuous work environment changes minute to minute. Hours after Trump sought to tamp down the perception of chaos during his press conference, six White House staffers had to leave their West Wing jobs because they failed to pass background checks and news broke that Vice Admiral Robert Harward, the president’s pick to replace Michael Flynn to head the National Security Council, turned down the offer in part because of the difficult atmosphere on that panel. . . .
One person who worked closely with the Trump campaign, and has had conversations with West Wing staff, described the situation as similar to when two companies that dislike each other merge, and each group harbors a competing view of what the future should look like.
In the current dynamic, the Bannon wing supports issues like pulling out of trade deals and clamping down on immigration and a stronger nationalistic outlook. The establishment wing is represented by Priebus and also Vice President Mike Pence. They are more focused on tax relief, cutting regulations, and, in Pence’s case, reassuring foreign allies. . . .
Management experts also say there’s little to suggest that Trump is welcoming diverse points of view, and instead seems to be signalling he wants sycophants who are eager to tell him what he wants to hear.
“If you watch someone who disagrees with Trump get fired for that, it is not going to create an environment where you’re going to feel safe or it is worthwhile to disagree,” said Burris, the McCombs School of Business professor. 
The prime example, several management experts noted, was the firing of acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who declined to defend Trump’s immigration order because she believed it was unconstitutional. Days later a panel of federal judges came to the same conclusion and halted that order. 
Another more recent one came Friday, amid news that Shermichael Singleton, a new aide at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and one of the few African-American conservatives in the Trump administration, had been fired because of an op-ed critical of Trump that he’d previously written for The Hill newspaper. 
Then on Saturday the White House fired a National Security Council aide who was accused of speaking ill of Trump and top aides during an off-the-record session at a Washington think tank, according to Politico, which broke the news.
For a “team of rivals” atmosphere to be productive, in a corporate office or a government office, there’s a need for mutual respect and trust that all parties are focused on the same long term goals. 
“It is not about telling the leader what he wants to hear,” said Hal Gregersen, executive director of the MIT Leadership Center at the Sloan School of Management. “It is about being on an unfettered search for truth. . . . The question becomes: ‘Who sitting in that room, be it the White House or any other office, is capable of creating a safe enough space where every angle gets surfaced.’ ”

How Many More ?

Political Cartoon is by Jason "Danger" Block at Glue-The Comic.

Biggest Lie About Raising Minimum Wage

Monday, February 20, 2017

What's Wrong With Trump


Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at

Trump Holds A Pep Rally And Continues To Lie

(This tweet by Chelsea Clinton is in response to Trump's lie at his pep rally.)

The narcissist-in-chief has been very unhappy lately. His administration is in chaos and full of leaks, courts have ruled against him, the truth is starting to come out about his Russian ties, and the polls show most people think he is dishonest and don't approve of the job he is doing.

A rational person would buckle down and make necessary changes, but Trump is not a rational individual. He decided instead to feed his own ego by holding a pep rally -- an event where only the most rabid trumpistas could attend. That event was held on Saturday in Florida. I guess it accomplished its purpose, because Trump continued to lie and the crowd loved it.

Sadly, he even told lies that could easily be disproved. Perhaps the stupidest was about Sweden. Trump said:

“You look at what’s happening. We’ve got to keep our country safe. You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this?”

What's wrong with that? Nothing happened on Friday in Sweden, or any other recent day. There was no terrorist attack (or activity of any kind). And there hasn't been for years now. Trump was just lying to try and justify his muslim ban executive orders -- much like the whopper his aides told about a massacre in Bowling Green.

While Trump's fans enjoyed the untrue story, you can bet the Swedes did not. Sweden is an ally, and even sent troops to Afghanistan to support the American war in that country. They are not going to like Trump telling lies about their country to enhance his own political standing in the U.S. It's just one more diplomatic blunder that makes our own allies leery of the United States (much like the blunders with Mexico, Australia, Germany, Canada, etc.).

It's not that Trump stretches the truth a little to protect this country -- most presidents have done that. It's that lying is his choice to defend almost everything he does, and it hurts the country instead of helping. The only thing it helps is his own ego (which was the purpose of the Saturday pep rally).

I guess we should be thankful that Trump doesn't lie all the time -- but just when he opens his mouth to speak.


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

More Say Trump Will Hurt Respect For U.S. In The World

Will the rest of the world respect us more four years from now (after the four year term of Donald Trump)? A large plurality of Americans (46%) say NO, while only 28% say yes. The public thinks it is far more likely that Trump will damage the world's respect for the United States by a whopping 18 point margin.

And that view is shared by both sexes, all racial/ethnic groups, three out of four age groups, and two out of three political groups. Only those 65 and older (43% to 39%) and Republicans (65% to 14%) think Trump will enhance the reputation of this country in the next four years.

These numbers are from a new Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between February 12th and 14th of a random national sample of 1,500 adults (including 1,283 registered voters, with a 3.1 point margin of error.

The chart below, from that same poll, shows Trump's job approval rating is still upside-down.

To Hide The Truth

Political Cartoon is by Sean Delonas at

Housing Discrimination Contributes To Big Racial Wealth Gap

I have posted a lot about the wealth gap between the rich and the rest of America. It is huge and it is still growing. But there is another wealth gap in this country -- the gap between Whites and Blacks. This pernicious wealth gap is not closing, and the reason is continuing discrimination.

Much of that gap is due to lower wages/income for Blacks compared to Whites, and a much higher unemployment rate among Blacks. But there is another factor that is a major cause -- housing discrimination.

Some may have thought that housing discrimination was eliminated when it was outlawed in the late 1960's. It was not. Like the discrimination that continues in education, the business community, and the justice system, discrimination in housing persists -- and it contributes to the inability of Blacks to accumulate wealth in this country.

The following article on this subject is by Janelle Jones at the Economic Policy Institute. It is worth reading by those who think equality is an important concept in a free country.

Wealth is a crucially important measure of economic health. Wealth allows families to transfer income earned in the past to meet spending demands in the future, such as by building up savings to finance a child’s college education. Wealth also provides a buffer of economic security against periods of unemployment, or risk-taking, like starting a business. And wealth is needed to finance a comfortable retirement or provide an inheritance to children. In order to construct wealth, a number of building blocks are required. Steady well-paid employment during one’s working life is important, as it allows for a decent standard of living plus the ability to save. Also, access to well-functioning financial markets that provide a healthy rate of return on savings without undue risks is crucial.
Failures in the provision of these building blocks to the African-American population have led to an enormous racial wealth gap. The racial wealth gap is much larger than the wage or income gap by race. Average wealth for white families is seven times higher than average wealth for black families. Worse still, median white wealth (wealth for the family in the exact middle of the overall distribution—wealthier than half of all families and less-wealthy than half) is twelve times higher than median black wealth. More than one in four black households have zero or negative net worth, compared to less than one in ten white families without wealth, which explains the large differences in the racial wealth gap at the mean and median.  These raw differences persist, and are growing, even after taking age, household structure, education level, income, or occupation into account.
Overall, housing equity makes up about two-thirds of all wealth for the typical (median) household. In short, for median families, the racial wealth gap is primarily a housing wealth gap. This is no accident. Besides facing discrimination in employment and wage-setting, for generations even those African-American families that did manage to earn decent incomes were barred from accessing the most important financial market for typical families: the housing market. Housing policies that prevented blacks from acquiring land, created redlining and restrictive covenants, and encouraged lending discrimination reinforced the racial wealth gap for decades. Richard Rothstein’s forthcoming book The Color of Law documents exactly how such policies at all levels of government robbed black families and communities of wealth.
Even as much de jure discrimination in housing was dismantled by public policy, de facto segregation and the legacy of wealth non-accumulation kept the racial wealth gap from closing. During the housing bubble that was the disastrous run-up to the Great Recession, the exposure to predatory, high-interest, and high-leverage mortgages led to an absolute wealth disaster for African-American families when the bubble burst. In the aftermath of the bubble’s burst, black unemployment rates rose to levels twice as high as white unemployment, leading to higher rates of delinquency and foreclosure for black families. And the sluggish recovery has only made matters worse, as home values recover at different rates across racial lines.
The role of policy in creating and maintaining the racial wealth gap makes it clear just how difficult it will be to close the gap through the individual choices and behaviors of African-Americans. Educational attainment, the right occupation, and full-time employment are necessary, but not sufficient conditions for building wealth (and even equalizing these between races would be nothing short of miraculous). The typical black family with a head of household working full time has less wealth than the typical white family whose head of household is unemployed. This outcome holds for black families regardless of the time and money spent on educational upgrading. Median wealth for black families whose head has a college degree, for example, has only one-eighth the wealth of the median white family whose head has a college degree. Even the typical black family with a graduate or professional degree had more than $200,000 less wealth than a comparable white family. This is not surprising given that my previous research with John Schmitt has found a college degree really is no guarantee.
Malign social policy has created and maintained the racial wealth gap, and only a progressive reorientation of this policy can close it. 

Fake News ?

Political Cartoon is by Darrin Bell at

The 1% Thanks You

Sunday, February 19, 2017


See, Hear, & Speak No Evil (Of Trump)

Political Cartoon is by Darrin Bell at

Americans Are Warmer To All Religious Groups But One

The charts above are from a survey by the Pew Research Center between January 9th and 23rd. They questioned 4,248 adults, and the survey has a margin of error of 2.5 points.

It shows the view of religious groups by the public in the United States. A "warm" feeling (favorable) would be shown by a larger number and be toward the top of the chart, whereas a "cold" (unfavorable) rating would be represented by a lower number and be toward the bottom of the chart.

I found it interesting that every single religious group, except one, had increased in favorability with the public -- and that was true of both Democrats and Republicans. That group was not muslims -- it was evangelical christians. The evangelical christians didn't lose any favorability, but didn't gain any either.

Three years ago, evangelical christians had a 61 rating from the public, and it still does. The rating from Democrats (53) and from Republicans (71) also remained steady.

Groups that are normally considered unpopular in this country did grow in favorability. Among the general population atheists grew from 41 to 50, and muslims grew from 40 to 48 -- both significant growth figures. Among Democrats the atheists grew from 46 to 57, and the muslims grew from 47 to 56. The same was true among Republicans, where atheists grew from 34 to 43 and muslims grew from 33 to 39.

Why did the evangelical christians not grow in favorability? Could it be because they are trying hard to force their religious views on all Americans, while other religious groups simply want to be free to worship (or not worship) as they please? I think so. Their effort to turn their religious views into law is not winning them any new friends.

Fun House

Political Cartoon is by Jeff Koterba in the Omaha World-Herald.

4 Out Of 5 Americans Want NATO Alliance Maintained

Donald Trump has said that NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) is no longer relevant, and he has intimated that the United States may not honor its NATO obligations -- and may even withdraw from it. But Trump's crazy view is not shared by the American people.

Among the public in the U.S., NATO has 80% support (people who believe the alliance should be maintained). These people view NATO as important, not only for the protection of Europe, but also the United States. That 80% support is the highest its been in the last two decades. And the support cuts across political lines -- with 97% Democratic support, 69% Republican support, and the support of 74% of Independents.

It's just one more area (among many) where Trump is out-of-step with the American people.

These charts are from a recent Gallup Poll -- done between February 1st and 5th of a random national sample of 485 adults, with a margin of error of 6 points.

The Media

Political Cartoon is by Bob Englehart at

Rather Says Russian Scandal Could Be As Big As Watergate

The following post from Dan Rather is well worth reading and thinking about:

Watergate is the biggest political scandal of my lifetime, until maybe now. It was the closest we came to a debilitating Constitutional crisis, until maybe now. On a 10 scale of armageddon for our form of government, I would put Watergate at a 9. This Russia scandal is currently somewhere around a 5 or 6, in my opinion, but it is cascading in intensity seemingly by the hour. And we may look back and see, in the end, that it is at least as big as Watergate. It may become the measure by which all future scandals are judged. It has all the necessary ingredients, and that is chilling.
When we look back at Watergate, we remember the end of the Nixon Presidency. It came with an avalanche, but for most of the time my fellow reporters and I were chasing down the story as it rumbled along with a low-grade intensity. We never were quite sure how much we would find out about what really happened. In the end, the truth emerged into the light, and President Nixon descended into infamy.
This Russia story started out with an avalanche and where we go from here no one really knows. Each piece of news demands new questions. We are still less than a month into the Trump Presidency, and many are asking that question made famous by Tennessee Senator Howard Baker those many years ago: "What did the President know, and when did he know it?" New reporting suggests that Mr. Trump knew for weeks. We can all remember the General Michael Flynn's speech from the Republican National Convention - "Lock her up!" in regards to Hillary Clinton. If Hillary Clinton had done one tenth of what Mr. Flynn had done, she likely would be in jail. And it isn't just Mr. Flynn, how far does this go?
The White House has no credibility on this issue. Their spigot of lies - can't we finally all agree to call them lies - long ago lost them any semblance of credibility. I would also extend that to the Republican Congress, who has excused away the Trump Administration's assertions for far too long.
We need an independent investigation. Damn the lies, full throttle forward on the truth. If a scriptwriter had approached Hollywood with what we are witnessing, he or she would probably have been told it was way too far-fetched for even a summer blockbuster. But this is not fiction. It is real and it is serious. Deadly serious. We deserve answers and those who are complicit in this scandal need to feel the full force of justice.


Political Cartoon is by Arend van Dam at

Nietzsche On Religion